Game Preview: A's vs. Angels - June 24, 2004

The A's broke a four game losing streak last night, defeating the Angels 7-1. They look to make it two in a row, sending Mark Mulder to the hill to face Ramon Ortiz.

Oakland Athletics (39-31) W-1 v. Anaheim Angels (39-32) L-1

Date: June 24, 2004
Time: 1:05 P.S.T.
Place: Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA

Preview: The A's look to salvage a series split this afternoon and gain some momentum going into their six-game homestand. Oakland will try to replicate last night's effort as they responded to a team meeting before the game by winning soundly, 7-1. The meeting was held to address some issues that arose after members of the bullpen took exception to some comments by "two starting pitchers". Those two pitchers, most likely Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, were part of the pre-game gathering and all indications pointed to a positive outcome. A win today would go a long way in helping the A's regain their clubhouse chemistry and help put aside some of the frustration that this current 2-7 road trip is causing.

Mark Mulder will take the mound for the Athletics and will be challenged by Ramon Ortiz who is filling in for the injured Aaron Sele. This is Ortiz's second start as Sele's replacement after being demoted to the bullpen as the result of his 9.28 ERA and 1-3 record in his first five starts of the year. Mulder is coming off an excellent performance at Wrigley Field where he out-dueled Mark Prior as he lasted 8 innings and gave up two runs only to watch Chad Bradford blow the save in the ninth. The A's used some good situational hitting last night to push across some runs as they were missing the big bats of Jermaine Dye and Eric Chavez in the middle of the lineup. Look for Dye to be back in the lineup this afternoon, but the latest word on Chavez is that he is still 2-3 weeks away from returning.

Pitching Matchup:

Oakland – Mark Mulder, LHP (8-2, 2.91 ERA)
Anaheim – Ramon Ortiz, RHP (3-5, 4.68 ERA)

Ramon Ortiz: Ortiz filled in admirably for Sele in his last start against Roger Clemens and the Astros by pitching six shutout innings while allowing only three hits and striking out five. Perhaps the most impressive stat by Ortiz from that game was that he got 13 groundball outs compared to only 1 fly-ball out. Ortiz was victimized by the homerun ball at an alarming rate last year (28 HR), but has not allowed one since April 30th and has only yielded 4 on the year. Earlier this year, Ortiz picked up a win against the A's by pitching 5 innings and giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks.

Mark Mulder: Mulder can tie his career-longest winning streak of seven straight victories with a win today. His last loss was against the Yankees on April 28th when he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings, and he followed up that performance with a no-decision against the same Yankees team as he failed to help the A's hold their 8-3 lead by yielding 7 runs in 6.1 innings while allowing 13 hits. Since that game, he has not given up more than 3 earned runs in any of his starts and, until Bradford's blown save last Saturday, Oakland had won 7 straight contests that he started. Mulder is averaging 7.2 innings pitched in his last 8 starts, but lost against Anaheim earlier this year when he gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in 7 innings while only giving up 5 hits.

Pitcher-Batter Matchup:

Mulder v.:
Kennedy, A – 4 for 17 – 1 2B, 6 K
Salmon, T – 4 for 30 – 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K
Anderson, G – 9 for 30 – 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI
Guillen, J – 3 for 5
Eckstein, D – 7 for 23 – 2 2B, 4 RBI
Molina, B – 5 for 21 – 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Guerrero, V – 1 for 4 – 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
DeVanon, J – 0 for 2, 1 K

Ortiz v.:
Hatteberg, S – 4 for 18 – 2 HR, 2 RBI
McLemore, M – 10 for 31 – 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 6 K
Dye, J – 6 for 22 – 2 2B, 2 RBI, 5 K
Durazo, E – 0 for 9 – 1 K
Byrnes, E – 1 for 5 – 1 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K
Kielty, B – 0 for 3 – 3 BB
Karros, E – 4 for 9 – 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 K
Miller, D – 1 for 2 – 1 2B, 1 K
Kotsay, M – 2 for 5 – 1 2B
Scutaro, M – 0 for 2 – 2 K

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