The Los Angeles Angels are hoping the All-Star break didn’t hamper any of their momentum.
Haren looks to extend a pair of winning streaks to five games when the Angels visit the Oakland Athletics for the opener of a four-game set Friday night.
Los Angeles (50-42) rebounded from a season-high six-game slide by putting together a 20-7 run, including an 11-2 homestand leading into the break.
The Angels are on the cusp of matching their season-high five-game winning streak from April 12-17, and Haren (10-5, 2.61 ERA) can continue a similar run individually.
The right-hander has won four consecutive starts with a 1.45 ERA while limiting opponents to a .171 average. He hasn’t had a longer streak since winning a career-best six in a row with Oakland from July 26-Aug. 21, 2006.
Haren was dazzling again Sunday, coming one out shy of a second straight complete game and allowing two runs and five hits while fanning eight in a 4-2 win over Seattle.
He’s 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in five career starts against the A’s, taking the loss in the most recent meeting May 24. Haren gave up five runs and seven hits - two David DeJesus(notes) homers - in seven innings of a 6-1 defeat.
The Angels are also having difficulty with Oakland (39-53), dropping five of the last seven while hitting .197.
Hunter is 9 for 20 with two homers and five RBIs in his last five games overall, but he’s 3 for 19 in his last seven at Oakland with Los Angeles dropping six of those.
While the Angels are in the thick of the AL West race, the last-place A’s have faded during a 5-13 stretch.
More offense would surely help.
The A’s are near the bottom of the majors in scoring (3.4 runs per game), batting (.233), homers (50) and on-base percentage (.299). They have a .205 average while averaging 2.4 runs over their last 18 games.
“Ultimately we’re going to have to score more runs if we’re going to get back in this thing,” manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s going to be the focus in the second half, to really believe in ourselves offensively. You can get into a rut.
“Your expectations come down some where you go through a half and underachieved offensively. It’s my job, the coaches’ job, the players’ job, to get a better mindset and get higher expectations.”
Brandon McCarthy(notes) (1-5, 3.66) takes the mound trying to win for the first time since beating Minnesota on April 10. He’s 0-5 with a 3.69 ERA in nine starts since, missing nearly seven weeks in May and June with a stress fracture in his shoulder blade.
The right-hander was in line for a victory Saturday at Texas despite allowing five runs in six innings, but the Rangers scored two in the ninth to win 7-6.
McCarthy allowed a career-high 14 hits along with seven runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-3 loss in Anaheim on April 26.