Athletics-Dodgers Preview

There was a fear that Brett Anderson's last start could have ended his season. Instead, he'll be back on the mound six days later to take on his former team.

The slumping Oakland Athletics begin a two-game series in Los Angeles on Tuesday night as the Dodgers open a five-game home stretch against the AL West.

Anderson (5-5, 3.33 ERA) departed last Tuesday's 4-3 loss in Atlanta with what was thought to be a potentially serious Achilles injury after allowing three runs in 2 2-3 innings. After his ERA dipped to a season-best 3.00 on July 1, it's been on the rise in three starts with the left-hander going 0-1 with a 5.52 mark.

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He threw a bullpen session Friday and simulated some defensive plays, and things went smoothly enough to avoid the disabled list and get back on the mound after Monday's off day.

"I got through it and it feels good," Anderson told MLB's official website. "My throws were crisper, stronger than the two-plus innings in Atlanta. I simulated coming off the mound for bunts, pushing off the mound, which is always a concern for me."

The focus now shifts to facing the club with which he spent his first five - albeit injury-shortened - seasons from 2009-13, and the A's are countering with their top arm.

Sonny Gray, however, hasn't been quite as sharp in his last two starts after throwing a shutout in his final game before the All-Star break. Gray (10-4, 2.30) gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings of last Tuesday's 4-3 home win over Toronto. He didn't earn the decision and is 0-1 with seven runs allowed in 13 innings since the break, including three home runs after giving up five in his first 18 starts.

Gray has been most effective on the road with a 7-1 record and 1.84 ERA in 11 starts, though run support could be an issue.

After falling 4-3 in San Francisco on Sunday, Oakland (44-56) has lost four straight with nine runs scored and a .214 average, cementing its status as a seller as the trade deadline approaches.

Stephen Vogt is turning in a terrible month at the plate with a .178 average dating to June 30, though Ben Zobrist is hitting .349 in 12 games. His .268 average is higher than it's been since reaching .286 on April 14, he'll be a free agent, and his position versatility is another selling point.

"I understand it's a tough decision for GMs, going, 'What can I get in return for some of these guys?'" Zobrist said. "They're trying to give the organization the best chance to win going forward. But from a player's standpoint, you never want to feel like anyone's giving up."

The Dodgers (56-44) haven't been a whole lot better offensively with a .223 average over a 3-3 span. They lost 3-2 to the New York Mets on Sunday, settling for a road split after winning the first two.

Howie Kendrick is 1 for 17 in his last four games, and the former Los Angeles Angels second baseman went 3 for 17 in his last five against Oakland. Fellow infielder Adrian Gonzalez has batted .167 in his last 20 home games and .160 in his past 12 interleague contests.

Oakland has won 14 of the last 18 meetings, with the clubs' last meeting coming in 2012. The A's 41-27 record in interleague play dating to the start of 2012 trails only Pittsburgh for the best in the majors.