Postgame notes as A’s close out a winning series in Anaheim

Three wins in three days, and the A’s are returning home after a 4-3 road trip that lifted them to .500 for the season. Here’s a few items that didn’t make it into my story for tomorrow’s paper …

–Keep Albert Pujols out of RBI situations and you’ve got a much better chance of beating the Angels. Their marquee offseason addition went 6 for 13 in the series and had three doubles Thursday, but he had zero RBIs over the four games. That’s largely because Pujols batted with nobody on base in 13 of his 17 plate appearances in the series. The slugger is still looking for his first homer of 2012.

–What will the A’s do about their third base situation? Josh Donaldson is struggling big-time. He’s in a 2 for 29 slump and has 13 strikeouts in 32 at-bats this season. He also made a throwing error for the second straight game. The A’s are slated to face five right-handers in a row starting Friday, so I’d expect to see lots of Eric Sogard over the next few days. But longer term? That’s a bigger question.

“It’s performance-based in the big leagues,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “At some point in time, you’ve gotta swing the bat.”

–The A’s received a tremendous effort from their bullpen Thursday, especially from Jordan Norberto, who inherited a no-out situation with runners on the corners and didn’t allow a run. Melvin noted how the back end of the bullpen — Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes and Ryan Cook — are set, but the middle relievers are still sorting themselves out. So Melvin was very encouraged by Norberto’s outing.

It wasn’t quite so smooth for Fautino De Los Santos, who fired two pitches to the backstop over the two batters he faced.

–The A’s will try to keep it going during a three-game series at home against the Cleveland Indians starting Friday.

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich