Athletics-Angels Preview

The Los Angeles Angels’ slim hopes of winning the AL West are

now gone.

Their chances of winning the wild card don’t look very promising

anymore, either.

Hoping to avoid a sixth loss in nine games, the Angels try to

bounce back against the visiting Oakland Athletics on Saturday

night.

Los Angeles (85-72) fell 3-1 to Oakland in Friday’s series

opener as Gio Gonzalez outdueled Angels ace Jered Weaver. That

defeat along with a Texas win Friday night gave the Rangers their

second straight division crown.

“It hurts that we can’t win the division title. That’s

understandable. But Texas played so well, we just couldn’t catch up

to those guys,” said outfielder Torii Hunter, who homered for the

Angels’ lone run. “Now we still have a shot at the wild card, and

we still have some life left. All you want is just to have a chance

to get in. We still have a shot, but it’s very frustrating that we

can’t gain any ground.”

The Angels, who could have moved into a second-place tie with

Tampa Bay for the wild card, instead sit one game behind the Rays

and 3 1/2 in back of wild card-leading Boston with five to

play.

A lack of clutch hitting has proven costly for Los Angeles,

which went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position for the second

consecutive night. The Angels are 1 for 19 in RBI situations in

their last five losses.

The Athletics (71-86) used home runs from Jemile Weeks and David

DeJesus on Friday to record back-to-back wins for the first time in

almost three weeks.

“It’s fun to play the spoiler role, If we can do something

against them, it makes the games more meaningful,” DeJesus

said.

Looking to add to the Angels’ misery Saturday will be Oakland

starter Guillermo Moscoso (8-9, 3.35 ERA), who is 2-1 with a 1.71

ERA in four outings this month. He has allowed either one earned

run or none in three of those outings, with the exception being a

6-3 loss to Los Angeles on Sept. 13, when he yielded three runs in

4 2-3 innings.

In his only other appearance versus the Angels, Moscoso yielded

three hits and three walks over six scoreless innings of a 6-1 road

win May 24. Since that impressive performance, the right-hander is

1-5 with a 5.73 ERA in seven starts away from home.

Hunter is 0 for 5 against Moscoso while fellow Angels Mark

Trumbo and Peter Bourjos are a combined 0 for 7. Bourjos is 4 for

34 over his last 10 games against the A’s.

The Angels will give the ball to Jerome Williams (3-0, 3.22),

who has thrived since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Salt

Lake last month. He is 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts,

including 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and a .137 opponent batting average

in two at home.

The right-hander surrendered three runs and issued five walks in

a season-low 4 1-3 innings opposite Moscoso earlier this month,

failing to get a decision.

Williams will try to slow down an Oakland team which has won

four of six at Angel Stadium, where it had previously dropped eight

in a row.