Oakland will try to avoid being swept for the first time this season when they play the Angels in the finale.
The Anaheim bullpen has not allowed a run on seven hits through eight innings while striking out eight in the first two games.
“We jumped out to an early lead and then we had a long drought,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “Their bullpen is tough. It might be one of the best in the league.”
Anaheim’s bullpen is 3-0 with a 4.17 ERA for ninth in the American League this season. In the last eight games, though, Angels relievers have allowed just eight runs in 29 1-3 innings for a 2.45 ERA.
“You’re not going to find a better bullpen than what they have,” Athletics catcher Damian Miller said. “You have to get your runs off their starters because their relievers come in and shut you down.”
Angels starter Ramon Ortiz, who takes the mound in the finale, has struggled in the early going. The right-hander was roughed up for four runs and six hits in just 2 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday—his second loss this season. He has allowed 15 runs and 23 hits over 10 2-3 innings in three outings.
Vladimir Guerrero is showing signs of shaking off his slump. The Angels outfielder, who entered the series 3-for-39, has four hits in the first two games and homered in the fifth on Saturday.
Adam Kennedy went 3-for-4 with two RBIs on Saturday for the Angels, who have scored 18 runs this series after getting only seven in last weekend’s series with the Athletics at home—when Anaheim lost two of three.