After riding their bullpen to a win Monday night, the Oakland Athletics will hand the reins to left-hander Tommy Milone and try to extend their win streak to seven games against Joe Blanton and the Los Angeles Angels.
The A’s (6-2) can take win the series if they win tonight, and that’s something Mike Scioscia would surely like to avoid as the Angels (2-5) are only a half-game ahead of the Houston Astros at the bottom of the AL West standings after going 2-4 in their first two series on the road and losing to the A’s in their home opener last night. Looking up at Seattle, Texas and Oakland is not exactly where the Halos expected to be at this point, and Josh Hamilton’s struggles at the plate are a contributing factor to that end, continuing last night as he went 0-for-4 and left eight men on base.
Oakland’s offense, on the other hand, is one of the hottest in the league. After their third consecutive game with three home runs, the A’s are tied with the New York Yankees for the most in the league with 15. Coco Crisp made it four games in a row with a home run Monday night with a shot to left field in the second inning, and John Jaso and Brandon Moss got in on the action with homers of their own in the seventh to bring the A’s back from a 5-4 deficit and win by a final score of 9-5.
The game was other instance of everything going right for the underdog A’s as the big spending rivals to the south try to figure out how to stop the bleeding. Scioscia could legitimately be on the hot seat after the second straight season with a poor start for a ball club with lofty expectations. The five-run seventh inning Monday did him no favors, as his decision to pull Scott Downs after retiring the first two Oakland batters ended up being the deciding move of the game.
Joe Blanton will look to right the ship for Los Angeles against the organization that drafted him out of the University of Kentucky. In his first start of 2013 against the Cincinnati Reds, Blanton gave up four earned runs on seven hits – three of them home runs – over five innings of work. Oakland’s Tommy Milone will look to build off of a solid first start against the Mariners, where he bounced back after giving up two early home runs to pitch seven innings and strike out four.
Bob Melvin did have one thing to worry about Monday night, as second basemen Scott Sizemore sprained his surgically repaired left knee running for a blooper to shallow right field in the fourth inning. Sizemore has returned to the Bay Area to undergo an MRI, and Andy Parrino will apparently be the player to take his spot on the roster since he can play both infield and outfield positions, something that could come in handy while Josh Reddick continues to recover from a sprained right wrist.
First pitch is at 7:05, and we’ll be here with the recap when it’s all said and done. Follow along on Twitter for live game updates: @springtime151.