The Los Angeles Angels have sputtered offensively while losing five of six, but the next pitcher they will face could provide an opportunity to change that.
Jerome Williams debuts for the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night when the clubs begin a two-game series at Angel Stadium with similarly struggling C.J. Wilson looking to turn things around for the home team.
After Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Boston, Los Angeles (68-49) has been held to 13 runs while batting .191 in its last six. In 23 games since the All-Star break, the club is batting an AL-worst .223.
"There’s some improvement that we need from players," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "A lot of this is cyclical. We have a lot of guys that are obviously struggling right now, and we need to just keep pushing forward. We need some hits to fall in. We’ve just been grinding."
Josh Hamilton has been at the forefront of the struggles, going 1 for 24 over six games, while Erick Aybar is 3 for 24 over the same period. Mike Trout produced Sunday’s offense with a home run in a second straight game. He’s 4 for 11 in his last two after an 0-for-10 stretch in his previous three.
Philadelphia (53-66) lost 5-3 to the New York Mets on Monday, dropping three of four in the series before heading west for five in Los Angeles and San Francisco. They did see signs of life from Darin Ruf, who homered after batting .129 through his first 19 games.
"I just want to take advantage of the opportunities," Ruf said.
Chase Utley also drove in a run in a pinch-hit at-bat. The second baseman is 10 for 21 with two homers, a triple, two doubles and seven RBIs over six games.
The Angels own a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series with seven straight wins, two of which came in Philadelphia on May 13-14. They’ve never allowed more than three runs to the Phillies, but that streak will certainly be in jeopardy with Wilson taking the mound.
Wilson (8-8, 4.82 ERA) has surrendered 10 runs in seven innings over two losses since returning from nearly a month on the disabled list, though his struggles started well before. The left-hander is 1-2 with an 11.03 ERA in his last six starts.
Since returning from a sprained ankle, control issues have been persistent with six walks and a hit batter.
"Location is the issue. There’s no issue with stuff or anything else; it’s just location," Wilson told MLB’s official website after allowing four runs and six hits with four walks in Thursday’s 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 33-year-old lost his only start against Philadelphia on May 20, 2011, surrendering three runs and four hits while striking out 10 in seven innings. Grady Sizemore is 3 for 8 with a home run against him, while Jimmy Rollins is 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Williams, who might have thought he was getting away from the AL West when he was claimed off waivers on Sunday from Texas, will replace Sean O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan was designated for assignment.
Williams made two starts with the Rangers after opening the season in Houston’s bullpen. The right-hander went 2-5 with a 6.71 ERA in the AL before joining the Phillies.
His second outing with Texas was a disaster as Williams surrendered 10 runs and 13 hits in four innings of a 12-2 loss at Cleveland on Aug. 1.
In three relief appearances against the Angels this season, Williams allowed eight earned runs in seven innings.