One way or another, it seems like every time the Yankees and A's meet at O.co Coliseum these days, the brooms come out.
In each of the past four series between the two clubs in Oakland, the victor has earned a sweep. The Yankees had swept three consecutive series there before Oakland won four straight games last July, and now the A's are looking for another sweep after taking first two games of a three-game set this week.
Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.68 ERA) gets the ball for Oakland, looking to build on his recent hot stretch. In his past six starts, Parker has posted a 2.43 ERA -- including a victory over the White Sox in which he went seven frames and allowed two earned runs on Friday.
Fellow right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will start for the Yankees, and he is headed in the opposite direction. Despite a 2.84 ERA on the season, Kuroda has three losses and a no-decision in his past four outings, including a loss to the Mariners on Friday.
According to Kuroda, who surrendered four runs in the fourth inning and nothing else, his problem in that frame was simple: "I got too careful and pitched around too much," Kuroda said.
The Yankees are in the midst of a tough 10-game West Coast trip during which they've gone 3-3.
Unless the Yankees and A's meet in the postseason -- a distinct possibility given their starts to the season -- Thursday marks the final game for legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Oakland, where he notched his first career victory in 1995. In 31 regular-season appearances there, Rivera has posted a 1.66 ERA.
Rivera also recorded a pair of saves in Oakland in win-or-go-home American League Division Series games. In 2000 he closed a nail-bating 7-5 Yankees victory in Game 5, and in '01 he put the lid on a 1-0 Game 3 victory known best for Derek Jeter's flip to nail Jason Giambi at the plate.
Yankees: Pineda's outing shifted
Michael Pineda will throw a simulated game Friday rather than pitching for a Minor League affiliate because the Yankees prefer that the 24-year-old throw under more controlled conditions.
"The other day he had one long inning, and sometimes you worry about a guy that's rehabbing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "This way you can build him up easier. He doesn't have to travel. Physically he's fine. Tuesday he threw his bullpen, and he's ready to go."
The club would like Pineda to throw 75 pitches in the sim game, and hopes to have him up to full strength sometime soon after the All-Star break.
• The Yankees have lost six straight games at the Coliseum.
A's: Crisp, Cespedes nursing injuries
The A's are 27-8 when Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes are both in the starting lineup, and they're just 13-19 without the pair. Both sat Wednesday because of injuries.
"We always feel confident with whomever we run out there," manager Bob Melvin said. "Obviously the results would suggest that we do very well when they're both in there."
Cespedes tweaked his left hamstring in Tuesday's series-opening victory and Crisp is nursing an apparent heel injury.
• The A's have won 20 of their last 25 games.
• A's outfielder Seth Smith is hitting .375 with a .464 on-base percentage in 28 career plate appearances against Kuroda. But he doesn't have a home run. In fact, not a single member of the A's active roster has gone yard against the Yanks right-hander.
• The A's are 10-3 this season in games decided in the final at-bat.
• In 10 lifetime at-bats against Parker, Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has recorded four hits.