After a miserable east coast road trip, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim came back home for a season long 10 game home stand and have so far won five out of seven from the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners.
The current hot streak was highlighted by a huge come from behind win over Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. After being down 8-1 through four innings, the Angels came back to take the 10-9 victory.
For most of the season, the Angels have been unable to come back from any deficits, so it was a stark difference for the team and something that they have shown so far during the home stand. On Sunday, the Angels almost came from behind to sweep the Yankees with a five-run ninth inning but fell just short after when Albert Pujols struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.
Last night seemed like the Angels of old were rearing their ugly heads when the Mariners took an early 7-0 lead before the Angels put one on the board in the bottom of the third. But the Mariners went up 8-1 in the top of the fourth inning after an RBI single by Raul Ibanez that scored Kyle Seager.
Then things got interesting very soon as the Angels used a five-run fifth inning to cut the lead to 8-7 after a solo shot by Peter Bourjos and a three run shot by Mark Trumbo. Then in the bottom of the sixth, Pujols tied things up at 8-8 after an RBI single that scored Bourjos.
In the top of the eighth, Seager gave the Mariners the 9-8 lead with an RBI double to right field that score shortstop Brendan Ryan before the Angels came back once more in the bottom of the eighth inning with a single from Erick Aybar that scored Bourjos to tie things at 9-9. Then with the bases loaded, third baseman Alberto Callaspo was able to draw a walk that scored Pujols for the game-winner.
Apart from last night’s game, the Angels have used pitching and defense as a source of energy in their hot streak, and other than their 6-5 loss to the Yankees, their other only loss, at the hands of the Mariners, was a close 3-2 game.
The Angels were able to take two out of three from the struggling Yankees to open up their home stand and then were able to take three out of four from the Mariners, and now they will play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three game series starting tonight.
With the Pirates in town, the Angels have a chance to have a very successful home stand if they take of business and continue to play as they have been doing so far. With their ace Jered Weaver on the mound tonight facing the rookie top prospect and UCLA product Gerrit Cole, May’s AL pitcher of the month Jason Vargas facing lefty- Francisco Liriano on Saturday and Joe Blanton taking on Charlie Morton in the finale, the Angels have a good chance of at least taking two out of three from the Pirates this weekend.
The Angels really need these wins before they head to Detroit to face the AL Central leading Tigers starting on Tuesday. LA then heads to Houston to take on the Astros next weekend, who seem to be an easy matchup for the Angels but Los Angeles has struggled mightily versus those pesky Astros.
Something being overlooked in this current run, is the fact that the $125 million offseason prize Josh Hamilton is still struggling at the plate. After being dropped to seventh in the lineup, Hamilton went 0-4 once again to drop his batting average to a pitiful .207 and has gone 0-12 in his last three games with five strikeouts, giving him 76 strikeouts already on the season. Something has to be done to run his fortune around, thus far nothing has worked. Maybe simply benching him for a few games should get his mind straight and he can get on one of those hot streaks that he was known to go on in his time with the Texas Rangers.