Los Angeles (43-41) at Oakland (48-37)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Sat Jul 5, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Aaron Harang may have finally solidified the final spot in the Oakland Athletics’ highly acclaimed rotation.

The 25-year-old right-hander looks to build upon his best outing of the season as the A’s continue their three-game series with the Anaheim Angels at Network Associates Coliseum.

After just losing out on the fifth spot in the rotation to lefty John Halama in spring training, Harang was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on May 24 to replace the struggling Halama.

While Harang also endured his struggles in trying to lock up the final starting spot, he also showed manager Ken Macha he can compete at the major league level.

And it may have taken a loss to fully convince Macha.

In Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Seattle, Harang allowed just two runs and six hits over seven innings, striking out two without issuing a walk. Harang, who shut out the Mariners through the first six innings, retired the first eight he faced and then seven straight during a later stretch.

“He got a lot of ground-ball outs, had good velocity and was right over the plate,” said Macha, who has often wavered on Harang’s grasp of the fifth spot in the rotation. “He did a lot of the things he had done in spring training.”

After being used as a spot starter at times, Harang seems to be thriving when he gets his regular rest between outings.

“Throwing on a regular basis is always good,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a groove right now, hopefully I’ll keep it going.”

Oakland managed just two hits in Friday’s 1-0 loss in the opening game of the set—the third time in the last eight games and the fourth time this season the A’s failed to score.

Mark Mulder allowed three hits in his major league-leading sixth complete game, striking out five without issuing a walk for the A’s, who haven’t won two straight since May 22-23.

Benji Gil had two hits and scored the game’s only run on David Eckstein’s suicide squeeze as the Angels won for the sixth time in eight games.

“It was a good idea to get the run in,” Eckstein said. “That was our best chance to score. It’s hard because he’s such a good pitcher but the good thing is he’s usually around the plate and keeps the ball down.”

STANDINGS: Angels - 3rd place, 10 1/2 GB, AL West. Athletics - 2nd place, 6 GB, AL West.

ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Ramon Ortiz (9-6, 4.66 ERA). Ortiz’s five-game winning streak was snapped with Monday’s 6-3 loss to Texas. The right-hander, who boasted a 3.38 ERA during the streak, was reached for four runs—three earned—and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He also walked four and struck out just two. Ortiz has struggled in his eight career starts against Oakland, going 2-4 with a 5.96 ERA.

ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Harang (1-2, 4.40 ERA). Harang is 0-0 with a 12.34 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Garret Anderson, .307 avg., 19 HRs and 71 RBIs; Troy Glaus, 50 runs; Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .319 avg., 50 runs and 7 SBs; Eric Chavez, 16 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 55 RBIs.

SEASON SERIES: Angels, 4-3.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - Manager Mike Scioscia is one win shy of 300. He is trying to join Bill Rigney (625) and Gene Mauch (379) as the only Angels managers to reach the mark. … C Bengie Molina has nine RBIs over last 10 games. … Anaheim’s bullpen pitched four scoreless innings Friday to lower its AL-leading ERA to 2.98. Athletics - The A’s pitching staff had a 5.10 ERA against the Angels entering the game, their highest against any AL team. … The A’s are 17-14 against the AL West and 31-23 against the rest of baseball. … 3B Chavez is batting .297 (11-for 37) with three home runs, six RBIs and eight runs scored over his last eight games after hitting .170 (7-for-41) with eight RBIs over his previous 11.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 19-22 on the road; Athletics - 30-14 at home.

INJURIES: Angels - INF Brad Fullmer (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Mickey Callaway (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL. Athletics - LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Ortiz Tor vs. A. Harang Atl
16-13 Record 5-6
5.20 ERA 5.31
94 K 42
63 BB 19
1.51 WHIP 1.41