On May 7, Oakland's Drew Pomeranz made his first start of the year, and the Angels' Hector Santiago made his last before a demotion to Triple-A.
The left-handers' seasons have been on vastly different trajectories. Pomeranz, who opened the year in Oakland's bullpen, solidified a spot in the starting rotation that day, throwing five scoreless innings against Seattle. Meanwhile, Santiago was demoted to the bullpen, then was soon sent to Salt Lake after allowing six runs in two innings to the Yankees.
On Tuesday, Pomeranz and Santiago will square off in Anaheim in the second game of a three-game series. Pomeranz is looking to get back on track after going 1-2 with a 4.41 ERA in his last three starts, while Santiago got a call up from Salt Lake because Tyler Skaggs was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
Santiago made three starts for the Bees, going 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA. He had success in a start against Oakland on April 14, allowing one run and striking out three in a seven-inning no-decision, but he hasn't won a game since Aug. 18, 2013, when he was a member of White Sox. He's 0-6 with a 4.82 ERA in the Majors this season.
"He's making progress with his command," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he feels much better about what he needs to do out there on the mound."
For Oakland, Pomeranz is 1-1 with 5.59 ERA in three career appearances against the Angels, all this year. His win was a tough start in Oakland in which he surrendered five earned runs in five innings but was buoyed by nine runs of offensive support.
He was in control in his next start against the Yankees, on June 5, holding New York to one run across seven innings while striking out seven and walking just one.
"Locating my pitches I think has been key for me this year," Pomeranz said.
The 25-year-old is 5-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 45 innings in his first season in Oakland and may have found his niche in the starting rotation.
"I've been a starter my whole career," Pomeranz said. "I had some success out of the bullpen, but I'm glad to be back starting."
Angels: Hamilton heating up against lefties
In the Angels' weekend sweep of the White Sox, Josh Hamilton seemed to be back on track, notching three multihit games. Perhaps more importantly, though, Hamilton did it against two left-handed starters, including Chris Sale.
Hamilton was 4-for-6 with three RBIs against Sale and Jose Quintana, pushing his season average to .400 in just 14 games and 50 at-bats. Against southpaws this season, Hamilton is 7-for-16 (.438) with six RBIs and a 1.313 OPS, much higher than his career average (.269) and OPS (.780) against lefties. In 2013, Hamilton hit .201 against lefties.
Oakland will send out two left-handers -- Pomeranz and Tommy Milone -- against the Angels to finish the series. Pomeranz has been tough against left-handed hitters in his career, holding them to a .179 average. Oakland's pair of lefties will complete a stretch of four left-handers in five games for the Angels.
Hamilton went 1-for-3 against Chavez and 0-for-1 against righty reliever Ryan Cook in Monday night's 4-1 Angels win.
Athletics: Oakland not intimidated by Angels' returnees
The Angels look a little different than the last time Oakland saw them.
Outfielders Hamilton and Kole Calhoun have returned to the lineup to give the Los Angeles lineup some added punch, but Pomeranz isn't concerned about the additions.
"It's basically the lineup I've faced, except for those guys," Pomeranz said. "They had a good lineup before. It really doesn't matter that much."
The Angels have more than held their own without Hamilton and Calhoun, sitting fourth in the American League, and fifth in the Majors, with a .741 team OPS.
Calhoun is batting .239/.301/.442 on the season with four home runs, while Hamilton is hitting .389/.459/.630 with three home runs in 54 at-bat this season.
"It makes them deeper," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Hamilton's return. "We thought they were deep to begin with. It was a good offense before he came back. They've had some guys -- Grant Green, Collin Cowgill -- step up and contribute when they had guys out."
• The Angels are 12-17 against AL West opponents. Against everyone else, they are 23-11.
• Sixteen of the Angels' 35 wins are comeback victories.
• The A's streak of 16 consecutive games with a home run, which tied for the second-longest streak by an A's team over the last 12 years, ended on Monday night.
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.