Angels starter Dan Haren gave up one run and three hits in six innings against… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)
The Oakland Athletics will get another crack at Dan Haren in the opener of a critical four-game series in Anaheim on Monday night after being somewhat baffled by the Angels' right-hander last Wednesday in Oakland.
Haren’s fastball rarely tops 88 mph these days, and his breaking pitches haven’t seemed particularly nasty of late, but Haren has given the Angels three straight superb starts, including a six-inning, one-run, three-hit effort in a 7-1 win over the A’s last Wednesday.
Haren went to 2-and-0 counts on the first four batters of the game but was not hurt by his early control problems, escaping the first inning by getting Josh Reddick to line into a double play.
He walked two and gave up a run in the third, and Oakland had the bases loaded with one out, but Haren struck out Reddick and got Yoenis Cespedes to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice. On three of his seven strikeouts, he caught the A’s looking.
“He was pitching a little bit differently than we’ve ween,” Oakland Manager Bob Melvin said. “The velocity wasn’t there at all for him, but he was getting pretty good movement on the fastball. He was pitching a little bit backwards in that he got some strikeouts on some fastballs in counts where he’d normally throw split-fingered fastballs.
“You have to give him credit. It didn’t look like he had his best stuff or some great rhythm at times, but he did make pitches when he had to. He was a little bit more unpredictable than maybe we’ve seen in the past.”
The Angels swept a three-game series from the A’s in Oakland last week, snapping Oakland’s nine-game win streak, but the A’s bounced back with a three-game weekend sweep in Seattle and are tied with Baltimore atop the American League wild-card standings.
The Angels have won six straight and 15 of their last 18 games behind a rotation that has combined to go 12-2 with a 2.99 earned run average in 18 games after going 3-7 with a 6.49 ERA in 18 games from Aug. 1-19. They are tied with Tampa Bay, one game back of a wild-card playoff spot.
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