The Los Angeles right-hander looks to continue his dominance of the visiting Athletics while trying to help the Angels bounce back from a series-opening loss Tuesday night.
Lackey (10-2, 3.09 ERA) allowed one run and five hits while striking out six in eight innings, but received little support in a 2-1, 12-inning loss to Minnesota on Thursday. It was the first time in four starts Lackey allowed two or fewer runs.
“Lackey can bear down,” Minnesota manager of Ron Gardenhire said. “He didn’t miss too many spots.”
While Lackey tries for a fifth consecutive winning decision, he’ll look to win his fourth straight start against Oakland. He is 13-3 with a 2.77 ERA in 24 starts against the A’s and allowed one run in seven innings of a 3-1 win at Oakland on June 6.
Although the Angels (79-51) hold a very comfortable 16-game lead in the AL West, they have lost eight of their last 12 contests, including Monday’s 2-1 defeat.
Mike Napoli homered and Chone Figgins had two hits for Los Angeles, which was stymied by starter Dallas Braden and two Oakland relievers. Mark Teixeira went 0-for-4 after going 6-for-7 with two homers in his previous two contests.
Teixeira is batting .368 with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 24 games since being traded to Los Angeles from Atlanta. Figgins, meanwhile, is hitting .417 (10-for-24) in his last six games, while four of Napoli’s five hits versus Oakland this season have been homers.
The Angels look to rebound after base-running mistakes helped contribute to Monday’s loss. Figgins was picked off and thrown out stealing and Oakland’s Jack Cust also threw out a runner trying to go from first to third base.
“Our defense got three extra outs,” A’s manager Bob Geren said of his team that leads the majors with 26 pickoffs.
Rookie Greg Smith (6-12, 3.75), who has 14 of those pickoffs, will take the mound for Oakland trying build off his last start against Los Angeles when he allowed one run and four hits in a 6-1 victory at Anaheim on June 30 for his first complete game.
Since then, however, Smith has struggled to a 1-6 record with a 4.38 ERA in nine starts. The left-hander did win his most recent outing, allowing four hits in six innings of a 2-0 win at Seattle on Aug. 21.
“We were real happy with Greg Smith because his strike percentage was something that we just recently talked to him about improving, being aggressive in the zone early, be more efficient in the strike zone, and he really did a nice job,” Geren told the Athletics’ official Web site.
Daric Barton homered for one of the four hits Monday for Oakland (60-71), which has won three of its last five contests. Barton is 6-for-13 with two home runs and four RBIs in his last four games.