C.J. Wilson has his sights set on starting the second half the same way he ended the first - in dominant fashion.
The potential absence of Yoenis Cespedes could make things a little easier for Wilson as he seeks his sixth victory in seven starts when the Los Angeles Angels host the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
Wilson (9-6, 3.37 ERA) went 5-1 in his last six outings prior to the All-Star break, posting a 2.04 ERA over that stretch.
The left-hander has also been outstanding against division foes, posting a 6-2 record and 2.43 ERA in nine starts, including two against Oakland. He didn't record a decision in a 9-5 loss to the A's on April 9, allowing four runs in six innings, but won 5-4 at Oakland on May 1 after limiting the A's to two runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Wilson would love to see his team put together another big offensive output after it gave him 12 runs of support in his last start, matching his career high. He held the Chicago Cubs to one run and four hits over seven innings of a 13-2 road win July 10.
"Offense is kind of a streaky thing sometimes," Wilson said. "You have instances where you score 13 runs, which is kind of a fluke no matter how good your offense is. I feel like our offense is capable of scoring six runs a night."
Wilson might not need that many if Oakland (56-40) is again without Cespedes, who sat out Friday's 4-1 loss. The Home Run Derby winner was a late scratch due to a sore left wrist and was replaced by Chris Young, who went 1 for 4 with an RBI double in the ninth.
"It came up (Friday) in batting practice," manager Bob Melvin said of the injury. "When he was taking some swings in the cage, he still felt it, so we pulled him out."
Melvin said he didn't think it was related to the home run contest, and he won't know until Saturday if Cespedes can play.
Cespedes' .364 average versus Wilson is the highest by any current Oakland player with more than three at_bats against him.
Mike Trout, who entered the break batting .397 with 13 RBIs over his last 16 games, was one of three Angels to connect for a solo homer Friday, joining Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar. Pujols had been without an extra-base hit in his previous eight home games.
Trout will try to stay hot for the Angels (45-49) against Oakland's Dan Straily (6-2, 4.28), who is 1-0 with a 7.88 ERA in three starts versus Los Angeles. Trout is 5 for 10 off of him.
Straily also entered the break on a high note, however, winning his last two starts while yielding a run and three hits over 13 1-3 innings. He was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento following his last start - in which he threw 6 1-3 innings in a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh on July 9 - as Oakland temporarily didn't need a fifth starter because of a scheduling oddity.
"I could have thrown a perfect game and I was going to get optioned out," Straily said. "It's nothing personal. It's the situation we're in. It is what it is.'
Despite Friday's defeat, Oakland has won 10 of 13 at Angel Stadium. The A's, though, have scored 13 runs in their last seven games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved