The surging AL West rivals begin a crucial four-game series Monday night in Anaheim, as the A’s look to avenge a sweep at the hands of the Angels last week.
Oakland has won 12 of its last 15 games after completing a three-game sweep of Seattle with a 4-2 victory Sunday. Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning and Josh Donaldson added a solo shot for the A’s (79-60), who lead the AL wild-card race and pulled within 3 1/2 games of West-leading Texas.
“We showed resiliency in these games,” manager Bob Melvin told the team’s official website. “We’ve just got to move on to the next city. It’s certainly a better feeling than it was when we left (Oakland).”
That was when the Angels outscored the A’s 21-5 during a three-game sweep last week. It marked the only time Oakland has been swept since dropping three straight to Arizona from June 8-10.
“Earlier in the season we did pretty well against them, and this is the first time they had their way with us,” said Melvin, whose team was 7-5 against the Angels prior to last week’s series. “They’ve continued to play well, so you know it’s going to be a challenging series going in there—as it always is against them—yet they are probably playing better than they have all year at this point.”
Melvin certainly may be correct after Los Angeles (77-63) beat Detroit 3-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep. The Angels, who have won six straight and 11 of 12, are one game behind Baltimore for the AL’s second wild-card spot, along with Tampa Bay, while sitting 2 1/2 games back of Oakland.
“We took three from one of the best teams in baseball,” outfielder Torii Hunter said. “We’re hot. We’re ready to go. All we can do is keep playing and riding out this wave until it falls out.”
Dan Haren won the series finale against the A’s last week, and he’ll take the mound Monday looking to win his third straight start.
Haren (10-10, 4.46 ERA) gave up one run and three hits in six innings of Wednesday’s 7-1 victory. The right-hander had gone 0-3 with a 4.85 ERA in his previous four starts against Oakland.
“This is not the A’s team we’re used to facing the last couple of years,” Haren told the team’s official website. “They come out, they swing the bats hard. They’re not just going for walks and singles. They have a very good ballclub over there.”
He’ll be opposed by Jarrod Parker, who allowed two runs in seven innings of a 6-1 defeat to the Angels on Tuesday.
Parker (9-8, 3.67) has pitched well in three starts against Los Angeles this season, but he’s 0-2 despite posting a 3.05 ERA, striking out 19 and walking two in 20 2-3 innings.
Los Angeles has won six of the last eight overall meetings - all in Oakland. The A’s have won seven of the last 10 matchups in Anaheim.