Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri had a few choice words for the A’s Sunday, calling them “lucky’’ and saying the Angels were going to beat them this week in a three-game series in Anaheim.
Well, Frieri got off to a good start Monday with a 4-1 Angels’ win in which he struck out the side in the ninth for his 11th save.
After that he sounded contrite when talking about Oakland.
“It was a misunderstanding,’’ Frieri said. “I’m sorry if I offended anybody. I respect the Oakland A’s, they’ve been playing really good baseball. But at the same time, I have confidence in my team. I knew we were going to play better baseball.
“Last time (a three-game sweep in Oakland two weeks ago), we didn’t play the baseball we know we can play and got swept. I was just trying to express myself and said we were going to beat them, because I knew we would play good baseball.’’
That was a far cry from what the closer said 24 hours earlier.
“We’re going to beat (the A’s),’’ he said at the time. “Get ready to write that. I hate to say this, but they have a little bit of extra luck. If you pay attention every play, it’s stupid how the game goes their way.’’
A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson was not impressed by Frieri’s early comments.
“Words are words,’’ said Donaldson, who was one of Frieri’s strikeout victims in the ninth inning Monday. “They don’t mean anything unless you put something behind them. To me (what Frieri said) doesn’t make a difference. You can say what you want.’’
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the A’s didn’t need to use Frieri as bulletin board inspiration.
“If that’s just the way he feels, that’s fine. I don’t think that affects us any,’’ he said. “I don’t know why it would (light a fire under his team). We play pretty spirited games anyway. I don’t think what anybody else says is going to make us say, `OK now we’re going to play harder.’ ’’