Angels hope pitchers pick up slack against A’s


The Oakland Athletics will look to sweep a three-game series against the host Los Angeles Angels on Sunday after posting a 6-2 victory on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif.

It has been a hard time for the Angels, who are 1-5 since May 17 — the last game superstar Mike Trout played before being sidelined by a calf injury that’s expected to keep him out until early July. Shohei Ohtani, tied for the American League lead in home runs with 14, did his part in Saturday’s loss with two extra-base hits, including an RBI triple.

The Angels are getting positive returns from Ohtani as a starting pitcher as well, but his return to the mound will be delayed. After diminished velocity in a start Wednesday, he will make his next start against the A’s but it won’t take place until Friday at Oakland.

“He’s been good; I check in every night,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I … wanted to make sure he felt great. But other than the velocity on the gun, he really hasn’t complained about anything. And he wasn’t even complaining about that. I try to do my due diligence with him daily, and he says he feels fine.”

The Angels will send right-hander Dylan Bundy (0-5, 6.02 ERA) to the mound Sunday, coming off a season-high seven earned runs on eight hits against the Boston Red Sox. He is 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts) against the A’s.

Los Angeles must hope for a solid start from Bundy this time because of its shaky bullpen. After giving up three home runs Friday, the Angels’ bullpen gave up three more Saturday to extend their AL-worst total from their relievers to 34.

The A’s have won four of their past six games as they try to find the form that led them to a 13-game winning streak in April.

Oakland is winning this season with a whole lot of offense, especially with the long ball, and just enough pitching. Heading into play Saturday, the Oakland rotation was essentially middle of the pack in the major leagues with a 4.39 ERA, while the relievers had a 4.10 ERA.

On Saturday, the A’s received a strong start from Chris Bassitt, who carried a shutout bid into the eighth inning. Oakland got three more home runs from Matt Olson, Aramis Garcia and Seth Brown.

Ramon Laureano went 3-for-5 on Saturday, one day after he had a home run among his four hits, reached base five times and robbed Anthony Rendon of a home run in center field. He has put all of his talents on display in the series.

“I don’t really think about … the five tools,” Laureano said. “I just think about asking questions, just keep being curious and keep getting better. I’ve seen what I think is best for me, and leave alone what’s not best for me. But I just keep asking questions and (have) curiosity, you might call it.”

The A’s will send left-hander Sean Manaea (3-2, 4.41) to the mound in the series finale after consecutive outings in which he gave up 10 hits in each.

Manaea has 10 career starts against the Angels and is 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA, including a hefty 7.40 ERA in five starts (20 2/3 innings) at Angel Stadium, where he has given up six home runs.

–Field Level Media

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