A's travel south for first series with Angels
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pose the biggest threat to the A's repeating as American League West Champions. They will be fired up in this series as it's their home opener. The Angels got off to a 2-4 start to the season and stumbling out of the gate doesn't go over well when you have a $137 million payroll. It will be important for the A's to kick them while they're down. Last season the A's were 7-3 in Anaheim, and 3-6 against the Angels in Oakland.
A Crisp Start
A's outfielder Coco Crisp is off to a hot start. In the A's first seven games he is tied for the team lead with three home runs and has a team-leading five doubles. Crisp, the A's leadoff hitter, is the ignitor for the club's offense. "When he's playing well, most of the time we're playing well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. The A's have won their last five games, and Crisp has hit a home run in three straight contests. He's the first A's hitter since Damien Miller in 2004 to go three straight games with multiple extra-base hits. If Crisp keeps rolling, it's likely the A's will as well.
Angels ace Jered Weaver will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken left (non-throwing) elbow. The injury occurred on Sunday against the Rangers. Weaver wasn't scheduled to take the mound against the A's in this series, but this is a potential division-altering injury. The Angels are already weak in the pitching department and Weaver is their ace. He won 20 games with a 2.81 ERA in 2012. After this series, the A's and Angels next meet on April 29 in Oakland and it is unlikely Weaver will be back for that series.
A's manager Bob Melvin said it was "pretty remarkable" that Jed Lowrie is hitting .500 through the first seven games of the season. The A's shortstop is tied for the team lead with three home runs and is on a six-game hitting streak. The 13 hits that Lowrie has collected in his first 26 at-bats are the second most in Oakland history, trailing Geronimo Berroa who had 14 in 1994.
The Angels made a big splash by signing Josh Hamilton in the offseason. He hasn't made many waves in the Angels' lineup yet, however. Hamilton is hitting .160 with no home runs and two RBI through the first six games of the season. Even without Hamilton, the Angels would have one of the best lineups in baseball. It will be scary to see what happens when Hamilton gets hot. Until then, he will probably be under a lot of pressure to perform. Keep an eye on Jerry Blevins in the A's bullpen if Hamilton is due up late in the game. Hamilton is 0 for 7 with five strikeouts in his career against Blevins.