Brent Rooker, Athletics set sights on sweep of Angels

Brent Rooker will seek to complete a home run hat trick when the Oakland Athletics pursue a three-game sweep of the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Thursday afternoon.

Rooker contributed one home run in each contest as Oakland beat Los Angeles 7-5 on Tuesday and 5-0 on Wednesday.

He has homered in three consecutive games twice already in his career, accomplishing the feat in April 2023 and then again last September.

The franchise record is six straight games, set by Frank Thomas in September 2006.

Homering against the same opponent in three consecutive home games has been a rare feat in A’s history. When teammate Zack Gelof did it last month against the Kansas City Royals, it was the first time an A’s player accomplished that since Matt Olson did so against the Baltimore Orioles in August 2017.

Rooker’s homer on Wednesday was his 17th of the season in 300 plate appearances. He is more than halfway to the career-best 30 he blasted last year in 526 plate appearances.

The 29-year-old credits experience for making him a more powerful force this year.

“Me making a very conscious decision to make sure before I go up there every single at-bat that I have a very specific game plan,” he said. “Not trying to give any at-bats away. Go up there with a plan: Knowing what the guy does well, knowing what I can do against his profile and what pitch, what location I have the best chance to hit.”

Rooker will seek to continue his surge in the series finale against Angels right-hander Roansy Contreras (1-0, 3.28 ERA), who threw three innings of one-run ball in a 5-2 home win over the A’s on June 26.

Rooker has a double and a single in four career at-bats vs. Contreras.

Contreras has faced the A’s just three times in his career, twice as a starter, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA.

The A’s have scheduled JP Sears (4-7, 5.00 ERA) in hopes some Rooker fireworks might help end the left-hander’s personal six-game winless streak.

Sears pitched one of the best games of his career on Independence Day 2023, shutting out the Tigers for 7 1/3 innings in a 1-0 victory at Detroit.

He is 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA in four career starts against the Angels.

The Angels have not led the past two days against the A’s, so they haven’t called on red-hot Carlos Estevez, the reigning American League Reliever of the Month. He hasn’t pitched since throwing a scoreless inning on Saturday in a 6-5 win over the Tigers.

The A’s have not trailed in the first two meetings with the Angels, which has meant Los Angeles hasn’t had the need to use red-hot Carlos Estevez, the reigning American League Reliever of the Month. He hasn’t pitched since throwing a scoreless inning Saturday in a 6-5 win over the Tigers.

That hasn’t stopped the media from hounding the right-hander with questions about a possible trade by month’s end, and the 31-year-old, who has one-third of an inning of career postseason experience, has been honest about his future.

“Every player wants to go to the playoffs,” he acknowledged. “Every player wants to win a World Series. And of course, I would love to have the opportunity to do it. I would love to go to the playoffs, compete and see what it brings.”

–Field Level Media