Graveman, Nolasco face off again as A’s host Angels

OAKLAND, Calif. — Right-handers Kendall Graveman and Ricky Nolasco will face each other for the third time this season when the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels open a three-game series on Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum.

Graveman (2-2, 2.95 ERA) earned the victory and Nolasco took the loss on Opening Night at the Coliseum when the A’s defeated the Angels 4-2.

Nolasco got even on April 27 in Anaheim when he outdueled Graveman in a 2-1 Angels victory.

The A’s should be riding an emotional high after back-to-back, walk-off wins against the Detroit Tigers. On Sunday, designated hitter Ryon Healy hit a two-run, game-ending home run off Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez for an 8-6 victory.

Oakland took two of three from Detroit and won the series after dropping three series in a row.

The Angels fell 5-3 to the Houston Astros on Sunday, despite Yunel Escobar’s two home runs, and dropped two of three in the series.

Graveman is coming off his roughest start of the season. He gave up six runs on five hits and lasted only 3 1/3 innings in a 7-4 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday at Target Field. Graveman had great stuff but little command against the Twins as he walked a season-high four batters. He gave up two runs in the first, three in the third and one in the fourth.

“They took some good pitches, and I got behind in counts,” Graveman said Sunday. “The stuff was good, the movement was good. I just didn’t throw enough strikes, and that’s the name of the game.

“You get guys in swing mode early in the game and then they’re going to swing. You might get somebody to chase a pitch. But then if you throw ball one, ball two, then it’s hard to get chases. And then they’re looking at one pitch, one zone. You kind of got to be really fine with it.

“I just didn’t locate as well as I had been in the past. I’m just trying to get back to that, throwing through the catcher and making good pitches. Just try to move on from that one and move forward.”

Nolaso struggled in his last start, too. He gave up four runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings and got a no-decision in the Angels’ 8-7 loss to Seattle at Safeco Field on Wednesday. He allowed two home runs, including a two-run shot to Mariners shortstop Jean Segura in a three-run fifth.

“I put myself in some bad counts and they started putting some hits together,” Nolasco said after the loss. “Not much I can do when I put myself in a bad situation behind in the count like that. … They did a good job waiting me out and laying off some pitches and doing damage.”

During his outing against Seattle, Nolasco had some cramping in his right calf, but he has had four days to recover.

Angels slugger Mike Trout, the reigning American League MVP, was out of the starting lineup Sunday against Houston for the second straight day with a strained left hamstring. Trout was also out of the lineup Thursday against Seattle with a strained hamstring. He returned Friday and went 1-for-4 with an RBI in a 7-6 loss to the Astros.

“Have to be smart about it,” Trout told the Orange County Register before the Sunday game. “I figure we take today and yesterday and see how it feels in Oakland. I’m going to come to the field (Monday) ready to play and see how it feels.”

Trout is a .305 career hitter against the A’s with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs in 101 games. In 53 games at the Coliseum, Trout has 13 home runs and 37 RBIs.

Nolasco is 4-3 with a 3.34 ERA in nine career starts against Oakland. Graveman is 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA in eight career starts against Los Angeles.