Joe Blanton wasn't at his best in his first game with his new team. Perhaps a matchup with one of his former clubs will lead to a better performance.
The right-hander will try to help the Los Angeles Angels snap out of another early funk when he faces the red-hot Oakland Athletics for the first time Wednesday night.
Blanton was signed to a two-year, $15 million deal in December, but the Angels are hoping to get better results than what he delivered in Thursday's 5-4 loss in Cincinnati. Blanton, who spent the previous four-plus seasons in the NL, was tagged for five runs and seven hits, including three home runs, in five innings.
"I gave up three homers. Two of them were off mistakes, and I felt I made maybe a handful of them all day," Blanton said. "That happens sometimes in baseball."
The money given to Blanton was spare change compared to what the Angels handed out to sluggers Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton over the past two seasons. Los Angeles, though, is once again off to a slow start despite that big spending.
After landing Pujols, the Angels lost 14 of their first 20 games in 2012 en route to a third-place finish in the AL West. They enter this game at 2-5 after a 9-5 defeat in Tuesday's home debut against the A's (6-2).
After falling behind by four runs early, Los Angeles rallied to take a 5-4 lead in the sixth, but Oakland's John Jaso and Brandon Moss homered off reliever Kevin Jepsen in a five-run seventh.
"That's part of who we are," manager Bob Melvin said. "We feel like we always have a chance to come back, so we keep grinding through the whole thing, and sometimes we have a chance."
The victory was the A's sixth in a row overall and eighth in the last 10 games in Anaheim. Blanton will try to end Oakland's dominance when he faces the club that drafted him 24th overall in 2002. He pitched for the A's from September 2004 until a trade to Philadelphia in July 2008.
Oakland, meanwhile, will look to Tommy Milone to help secure its best start since 2003. After tying for the team lead with 13 wins in 2012, the left-hander opened this season with a 6-2 victory over Seattle on Wednesday.
Milone gave up two solo homers in the first inning but yielded only two singles and a walk over his final six.
"If there's anybody that can recover from a little bit of a difficult start, it's Tommy," Melvin said. "He doesn't let too much get to him. He just concentrates on where he's throwing that particular pitch and doesn't get too far ahead of himself."
Milone had a more difficult time in his most recent matchup with the Angels, allowing five runs and 10 hits in just three innings of an 8-3 defeat Sept. 3. He was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his two previous starts versus Los Angeles.
Erick Aybar is 4 for 7 against Milone but he's expected to miss this game. The shortstop exited Tuesday's loss with a bruised left heel.
Hamilton is 4 for 9 with a home run against Milone and Pujols has four doubles in his eight at_bats.
The six current A's players who have faced Blanton are a combined 5 for 36 (.139), with Coco Crisp going 2 for 15.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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