C Derek Norris can expect a busy few days with the Los Angeles Angels starting left-handers in the first two games of the American League West showdown Friday and Saturday. Norris sat and watched left-handed-hitting John Jaso get the start Wednesday against the New York Mets. But instead of getting the full day off that manager Bob Melvin hoped, Norris had to be pressed into action late in a game the A's were losing. Norris went 0-for-2, once grounding into a double play.

3B Josh Donaldson did not start the Athletics' 8-5 loss the New York Mets on Wednesday, but he did finish it. In fact, the All-Star had what might have been the most important at-bat of the game, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning and the A's down by three. He hit the ball hard, but right at Mets SS Wilmer Flores, who was able to knock it down and record the game-saving, inning-ending out at first base.

RHP Sonny Gray brings a career-worst, four-game losing streak into the opener of the Athletics' showdown series with the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night. Just about everything else about the matchup is a positive for the 12-game winner. Gray has gone 10-2 in his career against the American League West, including 1-0 against the Angels. That win came earlier this season, when he allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings in a 6-3 A's victory. Gray has a 2.45 ERA in three career starts against the Angels.

RHP Jeff Samardzija was the victim of two-out hits in by far his shortest outing as a member of the A's in Wednesday's 8-5 loss to the New York Mets. Samardzija couldn't get out of the fourth inning, giving up seven runs on seven hits. Six of the hits came with two outs, including a half-swing blooper that landed near third base and yet resulted in a single by RF Curtis Granderson against a shifted Oakland defense. Three batters after what could have been the third out, Mets 1B Lucas Duda belted a three-run homer, turning what might have been a 1-0 game into a 5-0 runaway.

LHP Eric O'Flaherty is cleared to pitch in consecutive games, A's manager Bob Melvin announced before Wednesday's game against the New York Mets. O'Flaherty, who debuted for the A's on July 3 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, has pitched only 13 1/3 innings in his first 14 appearances, and never two days in a row. O'Flaherty pitched in Tuesday's 6-2 win over the New York Mets, striking out the only hitter he faced, and then was declared available had Melvin needed him Wednesday. As it turns out, LHP Fernando Abad and RHP Dan Otero were able to finish out the 8-5 loss.