The Oakland Athletics own the best road record in baseball over the past two-plus seasons. That success is continuing early in 2014.
Josh Donaldson looks to extend his hot stretch at the plate while helping the A’s close a nine-game trip with their eighth win during the swing Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
Oakland (10-4) leads the majors with a 94-75 road record since 2012 – a big reason why the team is the two-time reigning AL West champion.
It has carried over into this year, with the A’s going 7-1 so far on a trip that opened their road schedule following a 6-3 home victory over Seattle on April 6.
The bats are making a difference with a .261 average over the past nine games after mustering .214 at the plate through the first five.
Donaldson has been a big part of it, hitting .357 with nine RBIs and as many runs in nine games after going 2 for 22 in the previous five. The third baseman’s third hit Tuesday was a double in the 11th that scored Jed Lowrie to secure a 10-9 victory over the Angels (6-8).
He had two hits a day earlier, including a leadoff single in the ninth before scoring on a two-run shot by John Jaso in a 3-2 victory in the opener of this three-game set.
Donaldson’s recent surge may only continue since he’s batting .328 with a .361 on-base percentage over his last 14 games at Los Angeles.
Another strong effort at the plate may be needed since Tommy Milone is expected to get the ball. The left-hander is looking to improve after being tagged for five runs and 10 hits – one homer – in five innings of a 6-4 loss at Seattle in his season debut Friday.
"I felt like I threw the ball well but it’s tough to look at that outing and be happy about it," Milone said.
The left-hander is 5-2 with a 4.35 ERA in seven career starts against the Angels, winning the last two while allowing three earned runs with 14 strikeouts in 12 1-3 innings.
That includes yielding five runs – two earned – with eight strikeouts while being lifted with one out in the sixth of a 10-5 win in Anaheim. He’s won all three of his starts there, despite a 4.70 ERA.
While the A’s are hot on the road, the Angels are trying to end this six-game homestand at .500.
They’ll likely need a better effort on the mound after compiling a 4.42 ERA over the past five games.
Giving the ball to Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 2.40 ERA) could help if he’s able to bounce back from his latest performance. The left-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in seven innings of Friday’s 5-4 win in 11 over the New York Mets.
"You want to put up zeros, but fortunately the team picked me up," said Skaggs, who didn’t allow an earned run in eight innings of a 5-1 win at Houston in his season debut six days earlier.
Mike Trout is looking to build on his three hits from Tuesday, when he came a triple shy of the cycle while driving in three runs and scoring two of his own. The center fielder was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in the series opener, and he could be in for another tough day since he’s 3 for 16 with one homer and six strikeouts versus Milone.