Angels' Pineiro chases 100th win in Oakland
It's customary for the pregame music in most baseball clubhouses to be chosen by that night's starting pitcher. Which means the Angels' clubhouse will be pulsating to salsa and merengue Monday since Puerto Rican Joel Pineiro will be on the mound in Oakland for the first game of a two-game set.
Pineiro, unbeaten in two decisions with a 1.33 earned-run average this spring, will not only be trying keep his perfect record intact but he'll be going for his 100th career win as well. Pineiro is more familiar with the A's than any other opponent, having made 26 appearances and 21 starts against them -- the most against any team. But he's had just limited success, going 9-8 with a 4.13 ERA.
It was drizzling in Oakland on Monday afternoon and the field was covered with a gray tarp but the forecast isn't calling for heavy rain. But it is calling for consistent rain throughout the two-game series, one that could reorder the American League West standings.
The Angels and Athletics are both 5-5 over their last 10 games, leaving the Angels with a half-game lead over the Texas Rangers and a 1 1/2-game advantage over the A's.
The Angels come into the series with four players -- Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo, Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick -- hitting better than .300, the most on any one team in the majors. Kendrick is hitting .368 with 16 runs in his last 19 games while Izturis is hitting .373 on the road. Aybar is riding a career-high 13-game hitting streak, hitting .357 in his last 23 games while Callaspo is hitting .421 with 10 RBIs in his last 10 games.
-- Kevin Baxter in Oakland
Photo: Angels pitcher Joel Pineiro. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times