The Los Angeles Angels’ modest .500 record against AL West rivals is one reason why they’re playing catch-up with 16 games left in the season.
The Oakland Athletics don’t plan on being pushovers.
Los Angeles has dropped four of its last five meetings with the A’s heading into Monday night’s opener of a three-game series in Oakland.
The Angels (80-66) trail West-leading Texas by 2 1/2 games, partly due to a 24-24 record within the division. The Rangers are 30-15 versus West rivals - the best intradivisional record in the majors.
Oakland (66-80) has dealt Los Angeles eight of its defeats within the division, while the Angels have beaten the Athletics five times. The A’s took three of four when the teams last met, July 15-17 in Oakland.
The Athletics fell 8-1 to the Rangers on Sunday, but manager Bob Melvin said he plans to make the playoff contenders on Oakland’s schedule work down the stretch.
“You want to evaluate talent going forward, but you’ve got to put forth your best lineup and continue to play your veterans,” Melvin said. “Pretty much everybody we play is a contender - the Rangers, Angels and Tigers.”
Los Angeles has won six of eight, but lost 6-5 to the AL East-leading New York Yankees on Sunday. Howie Kendrick(notes) and Peter Bourjos(notes) each hit two-run homers for the Angels, who went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
“We shot ourselves in the foot all day on the offensive side,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “You need to pick up those runs and keep pressure on them. We just didn’t play the kind of all-around type of game that’s going to lead to a win.”
Pineiro is 1-0 with a 3.79 ERA in three starts since returning to the rotation after a stint in the bullpen. The right-hander will take the ball for the first time since Sept. 4, when he allowed one run in seven innings of a 4-1 victory over Minnesota.
“I’m just trusting my stuff now and believing in not trying to invent the wheel,” Pineiro said. “I’m just finding my sinker, working down in the zone and being aggressive with it instead of just trying to get a feel for it.”
Pineiro, though, is 0-2 with a 9.22 ERA in three starts versus the A’s this season. He had the worst outing of his career in the last meeting between the teams July 17, lasting only one-third of an inning while allowing eight runs - seven earned - and walking four in a 9-1 loss.
The left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his last five starts versus the Angels, pitching seven scoreless inning in the most recent win.
Gonzalez is coming off a rough outing, however, giving up seven runs - six earned - in five innings of a 7-4 loss to Kansas City on Tuesday. He had won his previous three starts with a 2.18 ERA.