Oakland (56-72) at Los Angeles (76-51)

Fair Currently: Anaheim, CA
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Sat Aug 29, 2009
  • TV: CSCA, FSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Looking to lock up their third straight division title, the Los Angeles Angels acquired two-time All-Star pitcher Scott Kazmir(notes) to give an unsteady rotation a major boost.

While a disappointing staff has been a concern for the Angels, their high-powered offense is doing a fine job of compensating for the team’s deficiency.

Kendry Morales(notes) and the AL West-leading Angels look to carry some momentum from an impressive offensive outburst into Saturday when they host the Oakland Athletics.

Los Angeles (76-51) acquired Kazmir from Tampa Bay on Friday for two minor leaguers and a player to be named. The left-hander was 8-7 with a 5.92 ERA in 20 starts for the defending AL champion Rays but has been showing signs of improvement, going 4-1 with a 4.38 ERA over his last six outings.

“I’m going to a quality organization that is in the race every year,” Kazmir said. “That’s something to look forward to.”

The Angels own a five-game lead over second-place Texas thanks to an offense that leads the majors in runs (724) and batting average (.289).

After being limited to three hits in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Oakland, the Angels bounced back with seven runs in the seventh inning Friday to rally for an 11-7 win.

Morales went 5 for 5 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs to tie the club mark of four extra-base hits. He leads Los Angles in homers (29) and RBIs (91) and has an AL-best 42 RBIs since the All-Star break.

“I told myself that if I could drive in about 85 runs and hitting about 25 home runs, I should be able to help the team win a lot of games,” Morales said through a translator. “And I’m not done yet.”

Led by Morales, Torii Hunter(notes), Vladimir Guerrero(notes) and Bobby Abreu(notes), the offense is picking up a pitching staff that ranks 26th in the majors in ERA (4.89).

All season, Los Angeles has been piecing together a rotation beset by injuries to John Lackey(notes), Ervin Santana(notes), Joe Saunders(notes) and Kelvim Escobar(notes), and the tragic death of Nick Adenhart(notes). Kazmir will become the Angels’ 14th starting pitcher this year, most in the majors.

Jered Weaver(notes) (13-5, 4.03) will be making his team-high 27th start when he takes the mound Saturday.

After throwing a seven-hitter in a 3-0 win over Cleveland on Aug. 19, Weaver gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 10-7 loss to Detroit on Monday. The right-hander has lost two of his last three starts - yielding 13 runs in those defeats - after losing just once in his previous 15.

Weaver didn’t suffer a loss in his only start of the season against the A’s on July 18, but he wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing five runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings of an 11-6 win.

Oakland (56-72) lost for the seventh time in 10 games Friday, but its sluggish offense came to life.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki(notes) had two hits and drove in three runs while Scott Hairston(notes) hit his sixth homer for the A’s, last in the majors in slugging percentage (.388).

Rookie Vin Mazzaro(notes) (4-9, 5.32) takes the ball for the A’s after allowing three runs, five hits and four walks in five innings of Monday’s 3-1 loss to Seattle.

The right-hander, who has thrown fewer than six innings in eight of his last nine starts, had the worst outing of his brief career in losing to the Angels on July 18, yielding eight runs—four earned—and 10 hits in three innings.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Mazzaro Mia vs. J. Weaver LAA
4-9 Record 16-8
5.32 ERA 3.75
59 K 174
39 BB 66
1.74 WHIP 1.24

Scoreboard

Saturday, Aug 29