Athletics-Angels Preview

When Dan Haren earned his fourth win of the season April 17, he
moved into a tie with Los Angeles Angels teammate Jered Weaver for
the major league lead.

He’s been unable to add to that total since, though he isn’t
entirely to blame.

Having been backed by minimal offensive support, Haren hopes the
Angels lineup can take advantage of facing minor league call-up
Guillermo Moscoso, who will make his first major league start for
the visiting Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

Haren (4-2, 1.84 ERA) got off to a superb start to 2011, going
4-0 with a 1.16 ERA through his first five appearances. Although
the three-time All-Star’s performance has fallen off just a tad
since then, his 2.34 ERA over six starts would typically be good
enough to garner at least another couple of victories.

Los Angeles’ offense, however, hasn’t given Haren much of a
chance.

Haren has received seven total runs of support in his last six
starts, making for an AL-worst 1.49 run-support average in that
span.

Against Seattle on Thursday, the right-hander allowed one run,
three hits and four walks and exited after eight innings with the
score tied at one. The Angels (25-24) went on to lose 2-1.

“Of course I want to be winning games,” Haren told the Angels’
official website. “I’m not going to stand here and say that winning
doesn’t matter. But the team winning is the No. 1 priority.
Pitching good and the team losing – you don’t get anything good
from it.”

Haren faced Oakland (22-26) once during his drought stretch,
permitting one unearned run and three hits in seven innings of a
2-1, 10-inning loss April 27 in Anaheim. Haren, who won 43 games in
three seasons with the A’s and represented Oakland in the 2007
All-Star Game, is 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts against his
former team.

Los Angeles’ offense struggled through most of Monday’s series
opener, before breaking open a tie game with a three-run rally in
the eighth and going on to win 4-1.

Torii Hunter’s second double of the game brought home the
tiebreaking run, one inning after he threw out the potential
go-ahead run at the plate. Hunter is batting .467 with six RBIs in
his last four games after hitting .042 with one RBI in his previous
seven.

The four-time All-Star will look to continue his surge and spoil
Moscoso’s season debut.

Moscoso is expected to take the rotation spot vacated by the
injured Tyson Ross after going 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA in eight games –
seven starts – for Triple-A Sacramento. In his final outing for the
River Cats last Tuesday against Nashville, Moscoso was tagged for
five runs, six hits and three walks in three innings.

“He’s throwing strikes, and he’s ready to go,” manager Bob Geren
told the Athletics’ official website. “He has a good breaking ball,
and when he throws it at the right speed, it’s pretty good.”

The right-hander made one relief appearance last season for
Texas after appearing in 10 games out of the bullpen for the
Rangers as a rookie in 2009.

While the Angels are hoping to make things difficult for
Moscoso, Haren could be poised for another strong outing against
the light-hitting Athletics.

Oakland has plated 10 runs and batted .200 while losing its last
six games.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki is 3 for 7 lifetime versus Haren, but is
batting .150 with no RBIs during the losing streak for the A’s, who
haven’t dropped seven straight since Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2009.