Angels week in review: Hanging on in the AL West
JUN 16, 2014 12:08a ET
The week ahead
The Angels have been road warriors lately. They're in the middle of a stretch of 17 games away from home over a 24-game span, and it continues with four in Cleveland starting Monday. They return home Friday night to face the Texas Rangers.
The week behind
The Angels had a mostly productive week, sweeping the Chicago White Sox and taking two of three from the Oakland A's before losing two of three to the Atlanta Braves. They did salvage Saturday's game in 13 innings after blowing a four-run lead in the ninth inning, but couldn't hold on to a 3-0 lead on Sunday, losing 7-3.
Record and standings
In losing three of their past four, the Angels' record fell to 37-31. They remain in second place in the American League West, but their deficit, which was 2½ games as recently as last Tuesday, is now 4½.
Shortstop Erick Aybar won his first and only Gold Glove in 2011, but for a while it seemed as if he'd never return to that form. Until now. Aybar still has his occasional lapses, but Saturday in Atlanta he made two spectacular plays, going horizontal to rob Aldrelton Simmons of a hit in the second inning and diving to snare Simmons' one-hopper before throwing to second base for a force out in the fourth.
Manager Mike Scioscia insists he wants to play aggressively, but Albert Pujols' base-running gaffes last week aren't the way to do it. Pujols ran through a stop sign and was thrown out at the plate against the A's, then returned the next night and was cut down at third base on what should have been a double. Pujols has never been a fast runner, but his attempt to help his team on the bases fell woefully short.
Player to watch
Right-hander Garrett Richards seems to have found his groove after a disastrous start against the A's on May 30. In three starts this month, Richards is 3-0 and has given up just one earned run in 21 innings, a 0.43 ERA. Saturday against the Braves, he struck out a career-high 10 batters and lowered his ERA to 2.87. When All-Star invitations are handed out next month, he should be considered.
Center fielder Mike Trout played in his 400th big league game Sunday night and went 3 for 5, making him the first player ever with at least 300 runs, 75 homers and 75 stolen bases in his first 400 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Trout's totals: 303 runs, 76 home runs and 75 steals.
"It was an emotional day, but it was, I think, very uplifting." -- Manager Mike Scioscia, who missed Saturday's game in Atlanta to attend the funeral of former Dodgers teammate Bob Welch, who died last week at his home in Seal Beach