Los Angeles Dodgers head to Oakland to face winless A’s

Apr 4, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith (16) runs out his solo home run in the eighth inning against the against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics hope a change of opponents, even if it’s the reigning World Series champions, makes a difference when they take a fifth crack at a first 2021 win, this time against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

Right-hander Frankie Montas (3-5, 5.60 in 2020), a former Dodgers minor-leaguer, is scheduled to duel Los Angeles righty Dustin May (3-1, 2.57) in the opener of a three-game set.

The A’s will be looking to rebound from a four-game home demolition at the hands of the Houston Astros, who out-homered Oakland 8-1 and outscored the defending American League West champs 35-9 over the first four days of the season.

Oakland had just 21 hits in the series, with star third baseman Matt Chapman serving as the poster boy for the A’s offensive failures, going 1-for-11 with six strikeouts.

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Now the A’s have the unenviable task of going up against May, who started one previous game against Oakland, recording the win after five innings of three-hit, two-run ball.

That game, a 7-2 Dodgers win last September, was played in Los Angeles. May has never pitched in Oakland, nor has he faced Chapman in his two-year career.

May won a spot in the Dodgers’ season-opening rotation during the spring, when his fastball routinely topped 100 mph.

“I just go out there and throw it and that’s what comes out,” he explained. “It’s not like I can control how hard I throw it. I just throw it.

“It’s always cool to look back and see 100 (on the scoreboard). Still gotta get guys out. That’s the priority.”

The Dodgers got seven strong innings from Julio Urias in a 4-2 win at Colorado on Sunday to cap a 3-1 series win after the Rockies had taken the opener 8-5.

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Powered by home runs from Will Smith and Zach McKinstry, the Dodgers outscored the Rockies 21-13 and out-hit the hosts 32-18 over the final three games of the series while stringing their winning streak together.

Montas has faced the Dodgers just once in his career, and it did not go well. Matched up with May last September in L.A., Montas was roughed up for homers by Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, A.J. Pollock and Corey Seager in four innings, during which he allowed five runs on seven hits.

Starting pitching wasn’t the biggest problem for the A’s in the four-game losing streak, which is their longest to start a season since dropping their first five in 1987.

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The A’s never led in the series, hit just 4-for-28 with runners in scoring position and watched their bullpen serve up 19 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings.

“Embarrassing,” A’s manager Bob Melvin labeled it after Sunday’s loss. “We played really poorly. We have to turn things around. It’s not just going to happen.”

The clubs met three times last season, all in Los Angeles, with the Dodgers taking two of three.

The California rivals haven’t met in Oakland since splitting a pair in August of 2018.

–Field Level Media