Programming note: A’s-Angels coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California (Channel locations)
ANAHEIM -- As if the division standings didn’t lend enough importance to this A’s-Angels series, Los Angeles closer Ernesto Frieri ratcheted up the intensity with some bold comments.
“We’re going to beat them,” Frieri was quoted Sunday by the Orange County Register. “Get ready to write that. I hate to say this, but they have a little bit extra luck. If you pay attention every play, it’s stupid how the game goes their way.”
Frieri no doubt was brimming with confidence when he made those comments, as is his team after the Angels swept the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. It’s the kind of momentum the Angles want heading into a series against the A’s, who lead Los Angeles by 4 ½ games. But Frieri’s words still were somewhat surprising given that players generally avoid making such inflammatory comments about opponents, for fear of lighting a fire under them.
For their part, the A’s downplayed the quotes leading into Monday’s series opener at Angel Stadium.
“I don’t really have an extreme amount of opinion on it,” A’s catcher Derek Norris said. “I can sit here and tell you Josh Donaldson is going to hit six home runs tonight, and it doesn’t mean jack until he goes out and does it. Ultimately, you gotta back up your words with your play, and so saying something like that before the series even starts, it’s a little premature.”
Frieri’s comments were also a bit curious given that the A’s swept the Angels in convincing fashion recently at the Coliseum.
A’s reliever Dan Otero got a chuckle out of Frieri’s comments but otherwise steered clear of fanning the flames.
“Everybody wants their team to win,” he said.
“(Words) don’t mean anything unless you put something behind them,” third baseman Josh Donaldson offered.