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Rays-Athletics preview

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What's new: The AL West-leading Athletics are 35-19 at home and lead the majors in runs with 545. They bolstered their pitching before the trading deadline, adding RHP Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs before the All-Star break and LHP Jon Lester from Boston. Their offense remains their strength; Oakland torched Kansas City for eight runs in the fifth inning Saturday, though it was shut down by ex-ray James Shields on Sunday. 3B Josh Donaldson is second in the league in Wins Above Replacement (5.2), behind the Angels' Mike Trout. Only Arizona's outfield has more assists than Oakland's 28.

Key stat: Oakland has outscored opponents by 164 runs — the most in the majors, far ahead of the second-place Angels (87). The A's 14 consecutive winning months marks their longest stretch in Oakland history.

Connections: Rays RHP Grant Balfour had 64 saves over the past three seasons with the A's, LHP Jake McGee is from San Jose, C Curt Casali is from nearby Walnut Creek. Oakland RHP Jason Hammel, LHP Scott Kazmir, C John Jaso, C Stephen Vogt, OF Sam Fuld, OF Jonny Gomes and RHP Jesse Chavez (briefly) are all former Rays.

Series history: A's lead 91-56 overall, 21-50 in Oakland.

Matt Baker, Times staff writer

Rays-Athletics preview 08/03/14 [Last modified: Sunday, August 3, 2014 8:14pm]

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