Injury-stricken pitching staffs face off

Wounded pitching staffs face off

SEATTLE -- The A's are matching the Angels this season, as much in the standings as they are in the trainer's room.

Both teams have had a crucial injuries to the pitching staff. The Angels have been without John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar all season because of injuries.

The A's also have had Rich Harden (shoulder) for just two starts this season, while Justin Duchscherer spent 20 days on the DL (right biceps strain) and Chad Gaudin, who starts Monday against the Angels, came of the disabled list April 7 after a pair of offseason surgeries.

"Their two top starters are not even in the rotation so they're obviously playing well," said A's manager Bob Geren, whose club begins a four-game series with the Angels Monday night. "With Vladimir [Guerrero], Garret [Anderson] and Torii [Hunter], it's a solid baseball team all around."

Despite the injuries, the two teams have been in lockstep for the past week. The A's have held at least a share of the AL West lead with the Angels for eight straight days. Oakland has had at least 16 days with at least a share of the lead.

"It's a good start, but it's a long season. We have to stay consistent," Geren added. "We need a couple guys in the middle of the lineup to get going.

"But I was encouraged with Duchscherer's performance Saturday [five innings, six hits, two runs] and also Rich performed well in his simulated game [Saturday]. We have some help coming."

Pitching matchup
OAK: RHP Chad Gaudin (2-1, 3.38 ERA)
Gaudin, who had a tough first outing just coming off the disabled list April 8, is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his three starts since. He said one difference is that he's watching the catcher's target longer in his delivery rather than picking it up late. He is 2-2 with a 5.23 ERA in 13 appearances, six starts, against the Angels. Guerrero hits him pretty hard, a .538 average (7-for-13) with three home runs and seven RBIs.

LAA: RHP Jon Garland (3-2, 5.04 ERA)
Searching for a consistent groove, Garland was rolling along in good fashion before leaving a pitch inside to David Ortiz for a two-run homer in Fenway Park in his last outing. He departed with a 5-4 lead, having yielded four earned runs on eight hits in six innings, and gained credit for the win. Garland has struggled against the A's in his career, going 3-8 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 outings. He's 1-1 with a 7.15 ERA in two home starts for the Angels.

Tidbits
The A's, who won 4-2 Sunday with an eighth-inning rally, are 2-8 when trailing after seven innings and 5-3 in games decided after the seventh. ... Jack Cust's streak of at least one walk in 11 straight games ended Sunday. ... The A's have hit just nine home runs this month. The A's have not hit fewer than 18 in any month since May 2005, when they hit 12. ... The A's had six walks Sunday and 21 in the Seattle series to give them a league-high 115 walks. ... Emil Brown had two RBIs Sunday to give him 22, second most in the AL. ... Santiago Casilla tossed one scoreless inning Sunday to extend his scoreless streak to 17 2/3 innings dating back to Sept. 18.

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On the Internet
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On radio
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Up next
• Tuesday: Athletics (Greg Smith, 2-0, 2.88) at Angels (Joe Saunders, 4-0, 2.55), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Athletics (Dana Eveland, 3-1, 2.48) at Angels (Ervin Santana, 4-0, 2.97), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Athletics (Justin Duchscherer, 1-1, 2.70) at Angels (Dustin Moseley, 1-2, 7.30), 7:05 p.m. PT

Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.