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Graveman set to face Angels' Trout, Ohtani

MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- A pair of American League West rivals will converge in Oakland on Thursday for yet another Opening Day meeting. The host A's will pit right-hander Kendall Graveman against Angels righty Garrett Richards in the 1:05 p.m. PT matchup at the Coliseum.

It's the second straight Opening Day nod for Graveman, who at age 27 is the vet of a youthful A's rotation. His first resulted in a win, with Graveman striking out seven and holding the Angels to two runs and six hits over six innings.

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OAKLAND -- A pair of American League West rivals will converge in Oakland on Thursday for yet another Opening Day meeting. The host A's will pit right-hander Kendall Graveman against Angels righty Garrett Richards in the 1:05 p.m. PT matchup at the Coliseum.

It's the second straight Opening Day nod for Graveman, who at age 27 is the vet of a youthful A's rotation. His first resulted in a win, with Graveman striking out seven and holding the Angels to two runs and six hits over six innings.

View Full Game Coverage

Shoulder injuries, however, limited Graveman to 105 1/3 innings last season. He endured two stints on the disabled list and finished the year with a 4.19 ERA in 19 starts.

"He might not be the most veteran pitcher in the league, but for us, he's our guy, he's embraced it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's ready for it."

Richards, meanwhile, missed much of the last two seasons with arm injuries but remains the resident ace on staff. Now fully healthy, the 29-year-old seeks a return to his old self. He posted a combined 3.18 ERA in 58 starts for the Angels between 2014-15, before being limited to just six starts in each of the past two seasons.

Richards has a deep lineup behind him. The Angels, who re-signed left fielder Justin Upton in the first days of the offseason, also added infielders Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart to their Mike Trout-led offense. Then came two-way player Shohei Ohtani, who they still believe to be a power threat despite mixed results at the plate in the spring.

Ohtani is expected to serve as designated hitter in the opener, before shifting to the mound for a start in the fourth game of this four-game set on Sunday.

The A's are also primed for big things at the plate this year. Khris Davis, who has 85 home runs over the past two seasons, is surrounded by several homer-happy hitters, including Matt Olson. Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien, Matt Joyce, and newcomers Stephen Piscotty and Jonathan Lucroy also possess 20-plus-homer power.

Three things to know about this game
• As a franchise, the A's are 55-62 on Opening Day, while the Angels have played to a 24-33 record on the first game of the season since their inception.

• Trout has 13 career home runs in 218 at-bats at the pitcher-friendly Coliseum, where he's hit .266 with a .351 on-base percentage in 56 games as a visitor.

• Graveman is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 11 career starts against the Angels, including 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in five starts against them in 2017. Richards is 2-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 16 career meetings (12 starts) opposite the A's.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels, Kendall Graveman, Garrett Richards