The Los Angeles Angels stumble into Oakland with their offense embroiled in a major slump, but having the red-hot Joel Pineiro(notes) on the mound may be enough for them to avoid a fifth straight loss.
Pineiro already has a shutout against the Athletics this year, and he’ll be looking to win a seventh straight start overall for the first time in his career as the AL West rivals open a three-game set Friday night.
Los Angeles (46-42) began its road trip by totaling five runs during the Chicago White Sox’s four-game sweep this week, and its lineup has rarely looked worse than it did Thursday.
The Angels matched a season low with two hits against Chicago’s John Danks(notes) in a 1-0 loss, getting shut out for the second time in 2010. They’ve been held to two or fewer runs seven times in eight games this month.
There has been nothing wrong Pineiro’s performance lately. The right-hander has a 2.08 ERA while winning his last six starts, the first time he’s done that since June and July of 2003 with Seattle.
Pineiro (9-6, 3.96 ERA) worked seven innings in an 11-0 win over Kansas City on Sunday. On May 16, he was even better against the A’s, pitching a four-hitter for his sixth career shutout in a 4-0 win.
“I was getting ahead in the count and was able to get a lot of groundball outs.” Pineiro said after that game. “Everybody knows the sinker is my pitch. So if I keep it down, hopefully it’s going to get good results.”
Pineiro hasn’t started at Oakland since 2006, when he went 0-3 with a 12.51 ERA there while pitching for the Mariners, but the A’s also are struggling offensively entering this series.
Oakland (41-45) had Thursday off after losing three straight to the Yankees at home, totaling four runs and 16 hits. Catcher Kurt Suzuki(notes) is 3 for 28 (.107) in his last seven games, while Daric Barton(notes) is hitless in 12 at-bats in his last four contests.
“With the off-day, we get a much-needed physical and mental day off, and we’ll come back here ready to play another tough team,” manager Bob Geren told the A’s official website after Wednesday’s 6-2 defeat.
Vin Mazzaro(notes) (4-2, 3.81) will try to help prevent the A’s from losing a fourth straight home game for the first time in 2010. The right-hander also will be trying to win a third consecutive start for the first time in his career.
Mazzaro struck out a season-high seven while pitching into the eighth inning of a 3-1 victory at Cleveland on Sunday.
“I’ve been working on keeping the ball down,” Mazzaro said. “It’s definitely an encouraging sign. I’m throwing in the zone and cutting down on my walks. Guys are making plays behind me. Good stuff is happening out there.”
After going 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA in two starts against the Angels last year, Mazzaro beat Los Angeles on June 8, working five innings in a 10-1 win. That was one of three losses for the Angels in 13 games at Oakland since the start of 2009.