Sputtering A’s turn to Smith to stop slide vs. Angels
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two pitchers looking to redeem themselves after awful performances will hook up Monday when the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series with a holiday matinee affair.
Right-handers Chris Smith (0-4, 6.27 ERA) of the A’s and Parker Bridwell (7-2, 3.52) of the Angels will kick off a series that begins with Los Angeles 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the chase for the second American League wild-card spot.
Smith gave up home runs to C.J. Cron and Martin Maldonado among five hits in 3 2/3 innings during an 8-2 loss to the Angels on Tuesday. He surrendered seven runs, six of which were earned.
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Smith has yet to win in eight career starts. He is 0-1 in three games, including one start, against the Angels in his career.
The 36-year-old was at his career worst last month, when he went 0-3 with an 8.49 ERA in five starts. He has been shelled for a total of eight home runs in his past four appearances.
To make matters worse for Smith, he will be seeing a more potent Angels’ lineup this time around.
After sweeping the A’s 3-1, 8-2 and 10-8 last week, the Angels went out and acquired veterans Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips.
Upton has made an impact immediately for the Angels, going 5-for-11 with five walks in a three-game weekend series at Texas.
The Angels lost two of three to the Rangers, but not because of a lack of offense. They scored 22 runs in the three games.
Phillips had two hits Sunday in a 7-6 loss after going 1-for-10 in his first two games for the Angels.
“I loved it,” Los Angeles star Mike Trout said of the offensive reinforcements. “Obviously, when you bring in two guys like that, having great years, been in the league for a while, it definitely helps you, for sure.”
The A’s will be playing their first home game since rosters were expanded on Friday, which means Oakland fans will get their first opportunity since July 5 to see highly regarded prospect Franklin Barreto.
The 21-year-old infielder went 0-for-4 on Sunday in Oakland’s 10-2 loss at Seattle, lowering his major league average to .174.
With or without Barreto, the A’s went 0-6 on a week-long trip to Anaheim and Seattle. It didn’t sit well with manager Bob Melvin.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “I think it’s the first time — I can’t remember the last time — we went on a road trip and didn’t come home with a win.
“You feel bad for our fans that come and support us (in Seattle), because we get some fans here and in Anaheim. Not to get one (win) out of it is pretty disappointing.”
Even in defeat last Wednesday, Oakland accomplished a rare feat when it blasted Bridwell.
The A’s sent the rookie to the showers after three-plus innings, torching him for seven runs and six hits. It was the first time that the 26-year-old faced Oakland.
Los Angeles went on to win the game 10-8.
Bridwell had allowed just six total earned runs in his previous four starts.
The Angels flew into Oakland on Sunday a little later than they expected. Their series-ending loss at Texas lasted 3 hours, 49 minutes, capping a marathon series in which the first two games went 4 hours, 33 minutes and 4 hours, 9 minutes.