|A's, Angels on rise ahead of series clash|
The Oakland A's have reached uncharted waters this season. The Los Angeles Angels aren't far behind.
The A's are five games over .500 for the first time in 2019, and the Angels can climb to a season-best two games clear of the break-even mark with a win against Oakland in the opener of the teams' four-game series on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif.
Both teams are coming off two-game sweeps against National League Central opponents.
The A's took two against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Tuesday and Wednesday while the Angels won both meetings against the visiting Cincinnati Reds, giving them three wins in a row overall.
The Angels hosted the A's in a three-game series earlier this month, and Oakland won two of three.
Oakland will be missing some key arms from that series, however.
The winning pitcher in the series opener on June 4 was right-hander Frankie Montas, who allowed two runs and four hits in a 4-2 win. He was suspended 80 games on Friday for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug that's banned under baseball's drug policy.
Oakland closer Blake Treinen, who saved the win for Montas, is on the 10-day injured list because of a right shoulder strain.
Before those losses, the A's had reached into their farm system to recall second-year right-hander Tanner Anderson on June 10, and the 26-year-old right-hander is scheduled to make the fourth start since his promotion on Thursday night.
Anderson (0-2, 4.20 ERA) pitched well in his season debut in his home area of Tampa Bay on June 10, but the A's lost 6-2. He ran into the Rays again Friday in Oakland and allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings of a 5-3 loss.
In between, he has a no-decision against the Seattle Mariners. He has yet to oppose the Angels in his career.
The Angels are expected to send rookie right-hander Griffin Canning to the mound in his bid to shake a personal three-game losing streak that began when he matched up against Montas on June 4.
Canning (2-4, 3.88 ERA) will be making his third start against Oakland in less than a month. He hasn't faced any other team more than once.
Canning went six innings in both outings against the A's, giving up one run and three hits in a no-decision on May 29 in Oakland, and four runs and seven hits in the loss in Anaheim earlier this month.
A's center fielder Ramon Laureano is 3-for-4 off Canning with a home run this season.
Justin Bour hit two home runs for the Angels on Wednesday in their 5-1 win against the Reds, giving him four homers in five starts since he was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on June 11.
Bour was batting .163 with four home runs when he was sent down on May 15, but he has since rediscovered his powerful swing.
"I think it's more just that comfort level in the box," Bour told reporters after the game Wednesday. "Home runs are great, but I just feel like myself and comfortable in the box, and I think that's a lot more of an indicator than the home runs, but the home runs are good."
Bour's play could create a logjam at first base and designated hitter, as those spots have been anchored this season by Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols. Ohtani had three hits in the Wednesday win.
--Field Level Media