Angels, A’s not ready to make this weekend `crucial’

There were suggestions that this weekend’s series in the Coliseum between the A’s and the Angels was crucial.

With two-thirds of the season left and the A’s only up in the American League West by 1½-games, that didn’t fly with the Angels.

Second baseman Howie Kendrick just pointed to the calendar.

“It’s May, man. I think every game is important,’’ he said. “It’s important to try to win every game. They’re playing well, we’re playing well, but at end of the day, it comes down to winning games, whether it’s the A’s, Seattle, Houston, anybody, you can’t take any team lightly. We’ve got to win games.’’

A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson said pretty much the same thing.

“Today was the most important game of the year,’’ he said Thursday. “Now (Friday) is. It’s like that every day for me.’’

Kendrick, asked about the A’s, was full of praise.

“They play well as a team,’’ he said. “The way they play the game, they have a lot of guys who get on base, a lot of guys who come up with big hits, and if one guy doesn’t get it done, the next guy comes up and thinks he’s going to get it done. That’s how you play as a team.

“Not everybody can do it all the time. That’s why you have nine guys in the lineup, guys on the bench who can step up and do different things. Game isn’t won with just nine guys on the field. It’s won by the bullpen, it’s won by coaches making moves, and the ability to have options. Not everyone has the exact same skills.’’

Come to that, A’s manager Bob Melvin couldn’t say enough good things about the Anaheim crew.

“The Angels have a good team. They made good acquisitions for them in the off-season. You look at their numbers. Pitching-wise they are completely different from last year. They are stronger in the back of their bullpen.

“They are stronger in the rotation. And they are not relying on one or two guys offensively to carry the load. You look at (C.J.) Cron and Grant Green, they are swinging the bat really well for them right now. Howie Kendrick is. It’s not just (Mike) Trout and Albert) Pujols. They have one-through-nine guys that they can rely on offensively. They are a deep lineup and a lot more difficult to deal with.’’

Melvin, however, seem to put a little added importance on this weekend’s series.

“Any time you play a team in your division that’s right behind you, it’s important,’’ the manager said. “Hopefully you’re asking me the same questions the next time we play them because hopefully we’ll be in the same position. We’re fighting against these guys. So it is important every time you play them. It was earlier in the season. It is now. And it will be later.’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.