Athletics, Angels look for positives in final series

Field Level Media

September 29, 2023 at 3:54 am.

The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels hope to notch some positive season milestones this weekend as the American League West’s bottom two teams face off for the season’s final three games starting Friday in Anaheim, Calif.

The A’s (49-110), who beat playoff-bound Minnesota 2-1 on Thursday in Minneapolis, already broke a dubious mark when an 11-3 defeat to the Twins on Tuesday broke the record for most losses in a season since the team moved to Oakland in 1968. The mark formerly was held by the 108-loss 1979 team. The franchise record was set by the Philadelphia Athletics (36-117) in 1916.

Oakland has lost 212 games over the last two seasons, the most in franchise history since the Connie Mack-managed Philadelphia A’s lost 215 from 1916-17.

On the plus side, with another homer, 2023 All-Star Brent Rooker would become the 24th individual player in Oakland history to hit 30 or more home runs in a season.

Speedster Esteury Ruiz has set an A’s rookie record with 65 stolen bases and needs two more steals against the Angels to break the AL rookie mark, set by Kenny Lofton with 66 in 1992.

A’s closer Trevor May notched his 21st save of the season in the Thursday win over the Twins.

“Every single guy in this room, with the exception of maybe two or three, are very much in establish-yourself mode,” May said. “Guys learning to stay locked in at the end of the year is so valuable.

The Angels (71-88) are set to welcome back right-hander Chase Silseth, who gets the start Friday after a rehab stint at Triple-A Salt Lake. Silseth (4-1, 4.10 ERA) had been sidelined since sustaining a concussion when he was hit in the head on an errant throw on Aug. 26.

The Athletics’ rotation is set for the series with left-hander Ken Waldichuk (4-8, 5.29 ERA) scheduled to start on Friday, right-hander Joe Boyle (1-0, 0.00) on Saturday and lefty JP Sears (5-13, 4.49) on Sunday.

Waldichuk is 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA in three career starts against the Angels, having allowed five home runs and 11 runs over 18 innings. He gave up two homers and five runs in 5 1/3 innings in his one start in Anaheim, on April 24.

All five Angels homers against Waldichuk came in his two starts against them this season. Of the current active Angels, Logan O’Hoppe, Brandon Drury and Chad Wallach have gone deep off Waldichuk this year.

Silseth has good memories against the A’s. He threw six one-hit innings in his major league debut during a 2-0 win at Oakland on May 13, 2022, when he became the first player from the 2021 draft to appear in the majors.

Silseth is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in three appearances (two starts) against Oakland, having struck out 12 in 12 1/3 innings while allowing just three runs.

Angels manager Phil Nevin said he is likely to use openers on Saturday and Sunday, with right-handers Davis Daniel and Carson Fulmer and lefty Kenny Rosenberg handling the bulk innings.

Reliever Kelvin Caceres became the Angels’ 66th player used in 2023 on Wednesday, tying last year’s franchise record for player usage. The Angels have used the injured list a major-league-high 42 times (with 35 different players) this season.

“Nametags could probably be a good thing,” Nevin said.