Struggling in nearly every facet - especially on the road - the Los Angeles Angels are starting to fade in the postseason chase.
A series with the AL-worst Oakland Athletics was supposed to solve their issues. Instead, the Angels attempt to avoid a five-game skid Tuesday night.
Los Angeles (65-66) has dropped nine of 11, a stretch that transformed the team from the leader of the race for the AL's second wild-card spot to 3 1/2 games back of Texas for that position
The Angels were also a factor in the AL West but a 2 1/2-game deficit to first-place Houston has bloated to 7 1/2.
"We're in this," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need to do things just a little bit better."
Little is going right, as Los Angeles is hitting .235 and averaging 3.0 runs while the staff has a 7.66 ERA - 8.13 from the starters - over the past 11 games.
The Angels' struggles have been apparent over the last 20 road contests, dropping 17 while batting .213 with 2.8 runs per game with the rotation posting a 5.97 ERA.
While the Angels had 10 hits Monday, starter Hector Santiago was hammered for five runs in 2 2-3 innings of an 11-5 loss at Oakland (58-74).
Los Angeles' latest win came with Matt Shoemaker (6-9, 4.48) on the mound. The right-hander allowed one hit in 7 1-3 innings of Thursday's 2-0 victory at Detroit.
He had given up 13 runs and 16 hits - four homers - in 7 1-3 over his two previous starts, earning him a demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake for nearly two weeks.
"That's as good as it gets from Matt," Scioscia told MLB's official website. "You can't say enough about the adjustments he made. You saw great fastball command, great glove-side fastball command, good slider. He used his split when he needed it. He really wasn't in too many bad counts."
Shoemaker is 0-2 with a 7.85 ERA in four starts against the A's this year. He allowed five runs and eight hits - two homers - in four-plus innings of a 12-7 win at Oakland on June 19.
Mike Trout is looking to put an ugly August behind him. The center fielder hit .218 with one homer and seven RBIs in 29 games after going 0 for 4 on Monday. He had a .462 average over his previous eight meetings with the A's.
Albert Pujols had two hits and an RBI in the opener of this three-game set after batting .172 over his previous 16 games. He owns a .409 average with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last six meetings with Oakland.
The A's are aiming for a fourth straight win and are giving Cody Martin his first career start in place of Chris Bassitt, who has a shoulder injury.
Martin went 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 21 relief appearances for Atlanta before being acquired July 2.
The rookie right-hander has been at Triple-A Nashville since, going 3-4 with a 5.33 ERA in 10 starts.
"Got a mix of pitches, throws upwards of five different pitches," manager Bob Melvin said. "Got him from Atlanta, and not sure what to expect until (Tuesday)."
Martin is from Dos Palos, California, roughly 2 hours, 30 minutes from Oakland.
Mark Canha is batting .345 with 16 RBIs in his last 13 games. The rookie had a three-run homer and a sacrifice fly Monday.