The Oakland Athletics' rotation has been the best in the AL, and the level of consistency they've displayed through the first two weeks of the season hasn't been accomplished in Oakland in 33 years.
Dan Straily will try to give A's starters their 14th straight game allowing three earned runs or fewer Tuesday night when they continue their three-game road set against the Los Angeles Angels.The franchise's longest streak to start a season since 1981 has come with starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin on the disabled list."It certainly hurts to lose two important guys like Parker and Griffin," manager Bob Melvin said. "But when you have guys like Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone that are going to step in and hold the fort down and compete at a high level, that's what we expect from those guys. So we have the depth."With a 1.89 ERA, the dominant starting pitching has Oakland (9-4) off to a 6-1 start on a nine-game road trip.Monday's 3-2 win over the Angels (6-7) was the A's 13th in their last 19 tries in Anaheim, but it required a two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth from John Jaso.Jaso has six homers and 21 RBIs in 66 at-bats at Angel Stadium, while his .424 average there is the highest of any player with at least 75 plate appearances.Straily (1-1, 2.77 ERA) earned his first win Thursday, allowing a run on three hits in seven innings of a 6-1 victory at Minnesota."I definitely didn't have my best stuff, but was able to mix speeds, mix locations and just keep them off-balance and from making good contact," Straily told the team's official website. "Even when they did make good contact, it was right at our guys. ... I think it's part of learning from last year. On days I didn't have my best stuff and try to pitch like I did, it cost me."Including the playoffs, he's looking for his 10th straight start without allowing more than three earned runs. He's gone 5-2 with a 2.45 ERA in that span while limiting opponents to a .194 average.The script has been flipped against the Angels, who have tagged Straily with three straight losses and a career 5.82 ERA in six starts.Albert Pujols, who homered Monday and has a 10-game hitting streak, is 6 for 14 with a home run off Straily while Erick Aybar is 6 for 12. Pujols has four homers and eight RBIs in his last six games after driving in one run in 30 at-bats over his first seven.Los Angeles will counter with Garrett Richards, who allowed a hit in seven scoreless innings of a 2-0 victory at Seattle on Wednesday."Just from experience, I think the game has slowed down a little bit for me," Richards told the team's official website. "It's basically come down to me just executing pitches."Richards (2-0, 0.75) was 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA in four starts against the A's last season. A's first baseman Brandon Moss is 6 for 13 with four extra-base hits in his career against Richards.Angels third baseman David Freese is 5 for 43 with 13 strikeouts thus far with his new team.Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp was out of the lineup Monday due to tightness in his left hamstring, and according to Melvin, he's "literally day to day."
Garrett Richards has yet to allow a hit on a breaking ball this season (one of five qualified pitchers remaining). Richards has thrown 27 percent breaking balls, above the league average of 25 percent. The Athletics' Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick are each hitting below .200 on at-bats ending in breaking balls this season (.188 and .091, respectively).
Mike Trout hit his 1st career game-tying HR in the 9th inning or later