Athletics-Angels Preview

The last time Jered Weaver faced the Oakland Athletics, he
capped a stellar six-start run with his second consecutive complete
game.

Weaver hasn’t been nearly the same since, and this time around
he’ll be looking to avoid the worst skid of his career.

The right-hander takes the mound Monday night when the Los
Angeles Angels host slumping Oakland to begin a four-game set.

Weaver (6-4, 2.45 ERA) has never lost five consecutive starts,
though he’ll likely need to recapture his form from the beginning
of the season in order to end his personal losing streak.

Weaver pitched a shutout and struck out 10 against Oakland on
April 25, improving to 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA. In four starts since,
he’s 0-4 with a 5.25 ERA while going six innings in each. In
Weaver’s first six starts, he never pitched less than 6 1-3
innings.

He allowed three runs and seven hits Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to
Seattle.

”When you get off to a roll like that, everybody expects you to
keep it going,” Weaver said following his most recent loss. “We’ve
had some rough ones here lately, not too rough, it hasn’t been too
bad. Nothing to hang my head about, but I haven’t got deep into
games like I wanted. I’m having a bad month. It’s bound to turn
around.”

The Angels (24-24) are hoping for the same after a 4-1 win
Sunday against Atlanta, their second victory in eight games. Torii
Hunter hit his first home run in 99 at-bats and went 2 for 4.

”I can’t remember that far back,” Hunter said about his last
home run, which came April 21 against Boston. ”I hadn’t seen one
of those in a while. I’ve seen them on TV and in the movies, but
it’s a lot of fun to get one out of the way for this month.”

Los Angeles has dropped six of seven to AL West opponents,
including two straight to the A’s last week. That was also the last
time Oakland (22-25) won a ballgame.

The A’s have lost five straight since beating the Angels 14-0
last Tuesday and fell 5-4 in 11 innings against San Francisco on
Sunday. They’ve scored nine runs during their losing streak, and
reliever Brian Fuentes has been charged with three of the
defeats.

”Anytime you lose a close game it’s tough, but the guys had a
lot of energy,” manager Bob Geren said. ”It’s one you have to
shake off and start over. Hopefully the offense the last half of
this game takes that momentum down to Anaheim.”

Oakland will turn to left-hander Josh Outman, who was called up
to make a spot start in place of the injured Brandon McCarthy.
Outman hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009 after Tommy John
surgery, causing him to miss all of 2010.

Though Geren has yet to see Outman pitch this season, he said
scouts have told him Outman is throwing the ball hard. He’s 4-1
with a 4.78 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Sacramento.

“Before he got hurt, he was a power pitcher,” Geren told the
team’s official website.

Outman started against Los Angeles on May 18, 2008, allowing
three runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-4 loss.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia missed Sunday’s game to attend his
son’s college graduation, but he’s expected to rejoin the team
Monday.