The Oakland Athletics are getting the pitching they need to win. Their hitting, though, is a completely different story.
The Athletics hope to get their bats untracked when they continue a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins at McAfee Coliseum on Saturday.
Oakland (25-30) has lost four out of its last six games despite posting a respectable 3.17 ERA in that stretch. But the Athletics have batted just .212 and scored 26 runs in that stretch to continue their struggles.
Despite their recent struggles, Oakland is in second place in the AL West, four games behind Texas.
With the offense in a slump, the pressure has shifted to Oakland’s starting rotation. Dan Haren (4-5, 5.04 ERA) will get the start Saturday after going 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in his last two outings.
Haren is 1-3 with a 4.10 ERA in six starts at home this season. The right-hander’s worst outing of the year came on April 11 at Minnesota when he gave up a season-high seven runs and nine hits over six innings in a 7-6 loss.
In his last outing, Haren threw a season-high 122 pitches and surrendered five runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 6-4 loss to Kansas City on Monday.
“Everyone knows we’re struggling,” Haren said. “When we hit, we don’t get pitching. It’s one of those cycles. Eventually we’ll get out of it.”
Brad Radke (4-6, 7.01) is 0-4 with a 8.51 ERA over his last five road starts for Minnesota and allowing opponents to hit .427 in that span.
Radke is facing Oakland for the second time this season after he allowed four runs and six hits over seven innings opposite Haren in the victory on April 11.
The Twins are 4-1 against the A’s this season. Minnesota’s bullpen has worked eight straight scoreless innings against Oakland after Nathan’s perfect ninth Friday.
Catcher Joe Mauer went 0-for-4 to see his career-high 11-game hitting streak end. Mauer batted .511 (24-for-47) with eight RBIs during his run. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer would likely start Saturday behind the plate despite it being a day game after a night game.
“He’s been swinging the bat pretty good,” Gardenhire said.
Justin Morneau hit a two-run homer on Friday as Minnesota improved to 2-3 on a 10-game road trip. Morneau entered the game just 2-for-13 against Oakland this year.
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