After overcoming a slow start last season before going on to win their fifth AL West title in six years, the Los Angeles Angels probably aren’t panicking over their record yet.
On Saturday night, the Angels look to avoid their first 1-5 start in 49 years when they continue a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics, who seek their best start in seven years.
Los Angeles (1-4) dropped its fourth in a row Friday, losing 10-4 to Oakland (4-1). The Angels, who began the season Monday with a 6-3 win over Minnesota, are 1-4 for the first time since 1988. The club hasn’t opened 1-5 since its inaugural 1961 season, when it lost eight in a row after winning the opener.
The Angels lost eight of 12 to begin last April before rebounding to win a third straight division title, but manager Mike Scioscia is frustrated with the way his team is currently losing games.
“We’re down because we’re playing bad baseball,” Scioscia said. “It’s tough to swallow, because we’re a better team than that. We’re not doing a lot of things right on the field right now. Consequently, we’ve been looking up on the wrong end of these scores these last four games.”
Coming off a 10-1 loss to the Twins on Thursday, Los Angeles gave up a season-high 13 hits Friday.
“Everything felt great,” he said. “I had a little more velocity than in the past. … I feel stronger.”
The right-hander was 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA in four starts against the Athletics last season.
After finishing below .500 the last three years, Oakland hopes its ready to challenge again in the West. The team hasn’t started 5-1 since 2003 when it won seven of its first eight games en route to winning the division.
The Athletics have scored 27 runs and are batting .296 to start the year. Rajai Davis(notes) and Daric Barton(notes) each had three hits and drove in two runs apiece Friday, while No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington(notes) hit a three-run homer.
“We have a lot of confidence in our team and in each other,” said Barton, who has six hits and six RBIs the last two games. “We’re taking advantage when there’s guys on base and we’re getting big hits with guys in scoring position.”
Ben Sheets(notes) (0-0, 3.60) will look to extend Oakland’s winning streak Saturday. In his first start since late 2008 while with Milwaukee, he gave up three runs and walked four in five innings of a 5-3 loss to Seattle on Monday.
“It wasn’t his best outing, but when he was done he said he’s close to being right where he needs to be,” manager Bob Geren told the A’s official Web site. “I believe him.”
Sheets missed all of last season following elbow surgery on his throwing arm. Nonetheless, Oakland signed him to a $10 million, one-year contract.