Angels vs. A's: What to watch for

Angels vs. A's: What to watch for
April 29, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Dan Straily will make his second start of the season Monday against the Angels in Oakland. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

OAKLAND -- Yoenis Cespedes has returned. The A's won the first game he played in after he was reinstated from the disabled list. Cespedes hit a two-run game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to put the A's in position for their walk-off win.

His return comes at a good time, because the Angels are in town. The A's will have a chance to kick their American League West rivals while they are down. The Angels have lost all three games against the A's this season.

Player of the week:

Josh Donaldson was named the American League Player of the Week. He hit .545 (12-for-22) with seven doubles, 10 RBI, seven walks, four runs scored and a stolen base. Possibly more impressive than his offensive output over the last seven days was his defense. Donaldson made two incredible plays in foul territory, one while dodging several scattering relievers, and another while making an overhead catch while sliding up the bullpen mound.

He has emerged as a key contributor for the A's, and is one to watch in this series because he is scorching hot. In a nine-pitch at-bat on Sunday, he cracked a double with the bases loaded. He is locked in.

Can Straily stick around?

Dan Straily was recalled to make Monday's start against the Angels in place of Brett Anderson, who is skipping a start with ankle soreness. Straily struck out 11 batters in his only start with the A's this season. He struck out 20 and allowed just two earned runs in 18 2/3 innings with the River Cats after he was sent down. If he can dominate a tough Angels lineup, he could put added pressure on the A's to keep him in the rotation. Jarrod Parker will start on Tuesday, and a good start will go along way to quieting the doubters.

Parker is 0-4 with a 8.10 ERA this season for the A's. Keep an eye on both Straily and Parker in this series. A's pitchers have a 5.68 ERA over the last 10 games, so they will need to find a way to improve soon.

Where has the money gone?

Peter Bourjos leads the Angels with a .329 batting average, Mark Trumbo leads the Angels with three home runs, Howie Kendrick leads the Angels with 14 RBI. Where are Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout's names on the Angels' leaderboards? Pulols is hitting .244, Hamilton .219, and Trout .263.

More money, more problems. The Angels are in fourth place in the AL West. Lucky for them, the Astros are around to keep them out of the cellar. The A's need to capitalize on the Halos before they rise up.

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