Oakland (2-4) at Los Angeles (5-1)

Fair Currently: Anaheim, CA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 3:35 pm EDT Sun Apr 8, 2007
  • TV: FSN+, KCOP
Preview | Box Score | Recap

No team has looked better in the first week of the season than the Los Angeles Angels. Vladimir Guerrero is a big reason why.

Guerrero and the Angels try to continue their red-hot play Sunday as they complete a four-game series against the rival Oakland Athletics.

The Angels are a major-league best 5-1, their best start since the 1991 team also won five of its first six games. They lost the opener of this series 5-3 on Thursday before rebounding with a 5-2 win Friday and a 2-1 victory Saturday.

“We’re not looking at standings. We’re not adding up any wins yet,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re just trying to play good baseball.”

John Lackey allowed one run over seven innings Saturday and Los Angeles was helped by some shoddy baserunning by the Athletics (2-4).

With the Angels leading 2-1, the A’s blew a big opportunity in the seventh. Eric Chavez led off with a double, but after Nick Swisher was hit by a pitch, Mark Ellis failed to make contact on a bunt attempt and Chavez was caught off second base.

“I’m sure it was a ball. I like to bunt pitches up there,” Ellis said. “Obviously, not that one. It’s just one of those plays that didn’t go our way. Usually I get the ball down, I’m a pretty good bunter.”

Guerrero drove in his major league-leading 10th run with a third-inning sacrifice fly, and has at least one hit and one RBI in all six games this season. He is batting .524 (11-for-21) with three home runs.

The Angels have been winning with such regularity that closer Francisco Rodriguez was given the night off Saturday after pitching in four of his team’s previous five games. Scot Shields worked the ninth for his first save.

Kelvim Escobar (1-0, 3.38 ERA) looks to keep the Angels rolling. The right-hander won his season debut 4-1 over Texas on Tuesday, allowing three runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings with five walks and four strikeouts.

Although Escobar is 4-6 with a 5.03 ERA in 15 career starts against the Athletics, he is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his past four starts versus Oakland.

Most of the current A’s haven’t had much success against Escobar. Nick Swisher, though, is 4-for-8 with two homers and three RBIs.

The A’s received another strong outing from a starter Saturday, as Dan Haren limited Los Angeles to one earned run in seven innings. Oakland starters have a 1.95 ERA thus far.

Shortstop Bobby Crosby, who left Friday’s game after five innings because of back spasms, said he felt much better and hopes to be in the lineup Sunday.

“It’s not related to my other back injury,” he said. “I’ve had this before. I’m not overly concerned about it.”

Joe Blanton (0-0, 6.00) seeks his first career win against the Angels in his second start of 2007. He has a respectable 3.44 ERA in seven career starts versus Los Angeles, but has lost all six decisions due partly to an offense that has scored only 17 runs in those games.

Blanton faced Seattle in his season debut Tuesday, when he yielded four runs in six innings but did not factor in the decision of Oakland’s 8-4 defeat.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Blanton LAA vs. K. Escobar NYM
14-10 Record 18-7
3.95 ERA 3.40
140 K 160
40 BB 66
1.22 WHIP 1.27

Scoreboard

Sunday, Apr 8