Angels-Athletics Preview


Tommy Milone's recent dominance can be attributed to a change in his delivery.

The Oakland Athletics are looking to continue changing things at the plate, too.

Milone goes for a fourth straight win for the first time in over a year, as the A's look to build on their offensive barrage against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Milone (3-3, 3.50 ERA) started 2014 by going 0-3 with a 5.86 ERA over his first five starts, prompting him to shorten the stride in his delivery.

So far, it seems to be working.

The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.03 ERA in four starts since. He was superb again in Monday's 10-0 win over Detroit, allowing four hits with six strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.

"I think it's really helped with my command," Milone said. "I think that's the biggest thing I've seen from before and now is command with the fastball and keeping everything low in the zone."

Milone is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA over his last three starts against the Angels (30-24). That includes yielding one run and four hits in seven innings of a 3-1 win in the most recent home start against them July 27.

While Milone's adjustment is paying dividends, the AL West-leading A's (33-22) are hoping they've snapped out of their recent offensive funk.

Oakland jumped out to a five-run, first-inning lead before finishing with 11 hits - three homers - in Friday's 9-5 win in the opener of this three-game series.

The A's were batting .216 and averaging 3.6 runs while dropping six of their previous eight games, and that included an 11-hit, five-homer effort in support of Milone.

Brandon Moss has one hit in each of the last two meetings with the Angels, but they're both homers that drove in seven runs. He had a first-inning grand slam Friday, ending his 4-for-30 slump over the previous eight games.

Moss, though, has a team-record 19 extra-base hits this month.

Josh Donaldson, however, is looking to continue his recent tear. The third baseman is 10 for 23 with five homers and 10 RBIs in six games after homering on two of his three hits while plating four runs Friday.

"I've been seeing good pitches for a while now," Donaldson said. "It's a matter of squaring them up or not."

Donaldson is 9 for 20 in four season meetings with Los Angeles.

The Angels have alternated wins and losses over the past seven games, and they'll likely need a better performance on the mound after Oakland's lineup knocked out Garrett Richards with two outs in the first inning Friday.

Tyler Skaggs (4-2, 3.97) will get the nod, and he's 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in four road starts. However, that defeat came Monday, when he was tagged for five runs - two earned - through the first two innings before settling down with five scoreless in a 5-1 defeat at Seattle.

The left-hander's only meeting with the A's ended in a 5-4, 12-inning win on April 16, and all the four runs he allowed came in the fourth before he exited two innings later.

Angels slugger Mike Trout is not in the lineup because of upper back stiffness. Trout is on an 11-game hitting streak, during which he's batting .415 with three homers and 10 RBIs.