After closing out the first half of the 2013 campaign with three straight defeats on the road, the LA Angels of Anaheim are expecting more positive results as they continue a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum on Saturday.
With one of the most dominant rosters on paper, the Angels are a team that everyone is expecting to explode at some point, and the club hopes that will be the case with the start of the second half. The Angels took a step in that direction on Friday thanks to a 4-1 win in the series opener versus the A's as Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar each hit home runs for the host.
Pujols and the under-achieving Josh Hamilton both had a pair of hits for the Angels, the latter adding an RBI for a squad that had just as many strikeouts (eight) as hits in the meeting.
Jered Weaver, who has also under-performed for the Angels so far this season, did come up with his fourth win in nine decisions as he permitted just four hits and fanned eight in 6 2/3 innings, although he did also issue four walks along the way for a team that is sitting in third place in the American League West standings, 10 games out.
Weaver has now thrown 24 straight scoreless innings versus Oakland.
"I think that you match up well against certain teams, and Oakland is a team that I've had some success against," Weaver said.
On the other hand, even with the setback, one which snapped a brief two-game win streak, the A's are still two games up on Texas for the lead in the division standings.
There was very little offense generated by Oakland as Brandon Moss scored the team's lone run in the top of the ninth and Eric Sogard logged two of his team's seven hits.
Saddled with the loss was A.J. Griffin, who permitted four runs on six hits, striking out four and walking one in five innings of action.
"I gave up three home runs, but I felt I was executing pitches pretty well," Griffin said. "It was just not our day. Weaver was on; he was really spotting up on that white line. It's just frustrating to me."
A winner in two straight outings and five consecutive decisions overall, Dan Straily takes aim at his seventh win of the season when he takes the hill for the Athletics on Saturday night. The right-hander, who has not lost since the middle of May versus Texas, is coming off a healthy performance against Pittsburgh on the road back on July 9.
Straily gave up just one run on two hits, while walking three and striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings of work in the Steel City.
Unfortunately, as well as the California native may have pitched against the Pirates, a meeting with the Angels in late April did not go nearly as well as he permitted six runs on seven hits -- two home runs -- in a mere 4 2/3 innings.
Now in just his second major league campaign, Straily has a mark of 1-0 with a 7.88 ERA in three all-time appearances against the Angels.
As for LA, the team has penciled in C.J. Wilson to counter in this contest. Also calling the Golden State his birth place, Wilson has registered five wins in his last six decisions
Battling the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field 10 days ago, the lefty emerged victorious in what turned into a lopsided, 13-2 final. Wilson lasted seven innings, giving up only one run on four hits and striking out six, en route to his ninth win of the season.
The meeting will mark the third of the season for Wilson versus Oakland, having come up without a decision in the first clash in April and then posting a win in early May. For his career, Wilson is 8-7 with five saves and a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts and 43 total appearances.
With last night's victory, Angels manager Mike Scioscia became the 39th manager in major league history and the fifth active manager to record his 1,200th win.