Angels starting to develop tough home identity
JUN 26, 2014 8:38p ET
The Angels completed the sweep Thursday afternoon with a 6-4 win using the same formula through all three games of the series: An early lead and solid pitching through the middle innings. It was the second straight sweep at home, as the Halos previously swept the Rangers, and it's the first undefeated homestand of six or more games since May of 2009.
A tough home identity has finally been created and is effectively being maintained.
"It was a good home stand for us, good series here on the offensive side, and if we're gonna get this thing going, get consistency, we need that offense to come out there and do what it can do every game," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "It still comes back for us to control the game on the defensive end, the pitching, and I think that's where our focus is and I think our starters have done a real good job of that."
Jered Weaver (8-6) pitched five innings of shutout ball before the Twins managed to push one run across after three-straight singles. The Angels' ace pitched himself out of what was only minor trouble in the seventh, securing the win for his eighth of the season and seventh at home, to perfect this season at Angel Stadium.
It was a vintage Weaver performance, as he worked ahead in the count and was even touching 90s with his four-seam fastball in the early innings.
"The sixth and seventh were tough for him," Scioscia said. "Up into the sixth inning he was really mixing and matching, changing speeds, had good life on his fastball. Those guys pieced together some hits in the sixth, they bunched some hits in the seventh and he had to work for it. They had a lot of action for only having one run on the board leading up to the ninth inning and we pitched out of some trouble, but he pitched a strong ball game."
For the third straight game, the Angels jumped on the Twins early, scoring two in the first inning and two more in the third. However, they were forced to overcome a tense ninth inning in which the demons that reliever Ernesto Frieri seems to sporadically battle made their return. Closer Joe Smith gave up a two-out, bases-loaded double to Joe Mauer, driving in all three runners that Frieri put aboard.
But Smith shut the door, striking out former Angel Kendrys Morales for the one-out save.
But the ability to overcome Frieri's miscues illustrate the Angels' biggest strength. When someone falters, there's another there ready to execute and erase the mistake.
"You can't control the results but we've got a lot of guys that go up every game and try to get the job done. If they don't, we've had other guys step up and that's what it's about: Each guy going up and trying to do his best," said second baseman Howie Kendrick. "Not every guy is going to get it done, but it's up to us as teammates to pick each other up and we've had guys doing that."
Heading into a six-game road trip with three games each against Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox, the Angels are still 3.5 games back from Oakland in the AL West standings. In order to gain some ground on this trip, they will need to take that same home mentality on the road.
"It's no secret that we've played pretty good at home," Weaver said. "But we've got to show that on the road. We've been a little hit or miss on road trips. But we're playing good baseball right now, so if we keep pitching well, the offense is going to take care of the rest."