Athletics-Angels Preview

Jered Weaver is looking like an early front-runner for the AL Cy

Young Award.

The Los Angeles Angels badly need another top performance from

him right now.

Weaver goes for his sixth win in as many starts and tries to

help the Los Angeles Angels avoid a five-game skid Monday when they

begin a three-game home series against the Oakland Athletics.

Weaver (5-0, 1.23 ERA) leads the majors in wins, the AL in ERA,

and has struck out a major league-leading 39 in 36 2-3 innings.

Opponents are batting .150 against him.

With another win Monday, he can become the first pitcher to earn

six in his team’s first 23 games since 2002, when Randy Johnson did

it for Arizona.

“It takes a lot to get off to a start like this,” Weaver told

the Angels’ official website.

The right-hander pitched a complete game against Texas on

Wednesday, limiting the Rangers to six hits while striking out

eight in a 4-1 victory.

The Angels (12-10) haven’t won since, getting swept in a

four-game home series by Boston over the weekend. They were

outscored 20-5 and batted .158 in the series, getting shut out in

the last two contests including a 7-0 defeat Sunday.

“It’s tough to define roles in the lineup when guys aren’t

playing up to their potential,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re

not there yet. A lot of guys are struggling, and we need to reverse

that.”

The Angels haven’t dropped five straight since a seven-game skid

last April 30-May 6.

Weaver went 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts versus the

Athletics last season. Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki is 10 for 29

with four doubles and a homer off him.

Oakland (11-11) will try to keep the Angels’ bats cold and post

its third straight win. After a three-game losing streak that

included back-to-back shutouts, the Athletics have 14 runs and 22

hits in their last two games.

Josh Willingham drove in three runs and Coco Crisp had his

second straight three-hit game and scored three times in Sunday’s

5-2 victory over Seattle.

“When he gets rolling, our offense takes off. There’s no

doubt,” A’s manager Bob Geren said of Crisp, who was hitting .213

before the last two games.

Crisp is 1 for 17 against Weaver with six strikeouts.

The Athletics will also give the ball to a pitcher with a

sub-two ERA in Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.80).

After allowing one run over 19 innings in his first three

starts, the left-hander gave up four runs and eight hits in six

innings of a 5-3 loss to Boston on Wednesday. He struck out a

season-high nine.

“You can see from the way he throws, he may not end up with an

ERA where he’s at now, but that’s some pretty good stuff,” Red Sox

manager Terry Francona told the Athletics’ official website.

“That’s a young left-hander that doesn’t look like his arm hurts –

nice and free and easy and the big breaking ball and enough

velocity on the fastball. That’s a tough guy to beat.”

Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts versus the

Angels. He won both of his starts against them last year.

Los Angeles has taken six consecutive meetings between these

clubs in Anaheim, and four in a row in the series overall.