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A’s and Angels — two teams going opposite directions

What a contrast in moods around the A’s and Angels right now. The A’s, expected to struggle this season after trading away so many key players over the winter, played relaxed and loose Monday night. Their 5-0 victory over the Angels was one of their best overall games this season. They’re 19-17 and in second place in the AL West, four games behind the Texas Rangers. The Angels? Considered World Series contenders when the season began, they’re mired in the AL West cellar at 15-21. Albert Pujols is hitting .197, and the boo birds are making themselves heard at Angel Stadium.

Who knows how the rest of this season plays out? The smart money still says the Angels will finish above the A’s in the standings. But it’s really something to watch right now, as the A’s are the team carrying the air of confidence when these clubs take the field.

–Tyson Ross was understandably pleased with his outing — six shutout innings with just five hits allowed. And he’s benefiting from a mechanical adjustment he made. In his windup, Ross said he’s swinging his left leg back more and rotating his body away from the plate more before delivering the ball. “It makes me a tick slower to the plate,” Ross said. “My stuff is a little better, and it’s going to make me a better pitcher overall.” He’s allowed just two runs and one walk in two starts at Angel Stadium this season (12 innings).

–A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game that he wasn’t sure about the status of Brandon Inge and Kila Ka’aihue for tomorrow’s series finale. He wants to see how both injured players respond in batting practice.

–We’ll have one of the nuttier start times of the season tomorrow with a 4:05 p.m. first pitch. That’s very unusual for a West Coast game. It’s being televised on Comcast SportsNet California as usual …

Joe Stiglich