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A's Begin Surprisingly Important Series With Angels

The A's host the Angels in the last series heading into the All-Star Break, and Oakland's status as a team 4 games under .500 and 9.5 games shy of 1st place may suggest that no series, this one included, means a whole lot anymore. However, the A's are just 4 games back of the Angels and so if the A's could rise from the comatose and sweep the series, Oakland would reach the All-Star Break just one game back of 2nd place as well as within a game of .500.

No they don't give out medals for runner-up, but given that the Angels have been the cream of the AL West over most of the past 9 years it would be a confidence builder to play even with Oakland's southern rivals as a stepping-stone to contention. A sweep this weekend would go a long way towards realizing this goal.

Vin Mazzaro, Ben Sheets, and Trevor Cahill are due to matchup against Joel Piñeiro, Scott Kazmir, and Jered Weaver. Perhaps the most significant start will be that of Ben Sheets, considered the most likely A's player to be worth a good prospect at the deadline -- if he pitches well the rest of the month.