Angels-Athletics Preview

The Los Angeles Angels’ struggles against the Oakland Athletics
could keep them from making a late push in the AL West race.

The Angels are hoping another strong start from Jerome Williams
on Tuesday night will help them begin to solve those woes.

Los Angeles is 24-25 against intradivision opponents this
season, and its inability to beat Oakland consistently has played a
part in that disappointing record.

The Angels (80-67) have dropped nine of their last 12 against
the A’s (67-80), and a 6-3 defeat Monday dropped them three games
behind first-place Texas.

“We’ve been outplayed by that team this season,” said manager
Mike Scioscia, whose team is also 2-10 in its last 12 games in
Oakland.

Los Angeles will play five of its final 15 games against Oakland
and will welcome the A’s to Anaheim from Sept. 23-25 before taking
on the Rangers to conclude the regular season.

Williams (3-0, 3.51 ERA) will try to help his club by winning
his fourth straight start. He yielded only one hit – a sixth-inning
solo homer – in eight innings of Wednesday’s 3-1 win over
Seattle.

Before being called up from the minors Aug. 17, the right-hander
hadn’t appeared in a major league game in four years. During that
time away, he played in Taiwan, Puerto Rico and a pair of
independent leagues.

Williams also signed minor league contracts with four different
clubs, including the A’s in December 2008. He began his MLB career
in 2003 across the bay in San Francisco, where he played two-plus
seasons for the Giants and won a career-best 10 games in 2004.

“It’s a great story,” Scioscia said. “He has evolved as a
pitcher, and if he can keep his stuff the way it is, he’s going to
pitch in the big leagues for a long time.”

Williams will make his first start against Oakland since July 4,
2004. Josh Willingham, who homered and drove in four runs Monday,
is the only current A’s player to have faced him, going 2 for 4
with a home run.

Willingham, 8 for 19 with two homers and seven RBIs in his last
five games, will try to help Guillermo Moscoso (8-8, 3.34) add to
his impressive start to this month.

After giving up a career-worst eight runs in Boston to conclude
August, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA in his last two
starts. He came within four outs of a no-hitter and within one of
recording his first complete game Wednesday, giving up two hits and
a walk in a 7-0 win over Kansas City.

Moscoso, who was sent to the minors twice this season, also set
an A’s record by retiring 30 consecutive batters – the final 13 he
faced during a 9-2 win over Seattle on Sept. 2 and the first 17
versus the Royals.

“It’s a credit to him and believing in himself,” manager Bob
Melvin told the team’s official website. “You get sent down and,
all of a sudden, if you’re in the bullpen or not here, there’s a
lot of things that you’re fighting through.

“You have to keep your belief that, ‘I’m a starting pitcher, I’m
a big league pitcher, and that’s where I’m going to end up.’ He
holds onto that every day.”

Moscoso made his A’s debut by allowing three hits and three
walks over six scoreless innings during a 6-1 win over the Angels
on May 24.