It’s good to be home. Or at least it should be. After being unceremoniously swept by the A’s last weekend in Oakland, the Angels face their American League West nemesis for three more games starting Monday night at Angel Stadium. A series win would be a good prelude to another road trip, this one seven games long through Atlanta and Cleveland.
The week behind
To their credit, the Angels rebounded from a 3-7 trip to take three from the Chicago White Sox, culminating with Sunday’s 4-2 victory behind C.J. Wilson’s pitching and Josh Hamilton’s three RBI. They needed the sweep to wipe away the memory of losing two of three to the Houston Astros.
Record and standings
The Angels are holding steady in second place in the AL West, 4 1/2 games behind the A’s. Their 34-28 record is better than every AL team except Oakland, Toronto and Detroit. But none of that really matters. Catching the A’s is their primary goal.
Angels lefty Sean Burnett undergoes second Tommy John surgery
You had to figure Josh Hamilton would have an adjustment period after returning to the lineup last Tuesday in Houston following ligament surgery on his left thumb. But no, Hamilton’s 48-game absence didn’t cool him off one bit. He’s 8 for 23 (.348) in six games back with five RBI, lifting his season batting average to .400.
The Angels laid an egg in Houston after being swept by the A’s. The final game against the Astros, an 8-5 loss, came after their pitchers walked eight batters, three of whom scored. Walks are a pitcher’s worst enemy, and the Halos were done in by their own failures.
Player to watch
When the Angels needed to make a roster move last week, they opted to keep C.J. Cron over Grant Green, despite Green’s versatility. But Cron has been a solid offensive presence at designated hitter and as a fill-in for Albert Pujols at first base. He’s clearly going to see his share of playing time against left-handers and might even face an occasional righty if veteran Raul Ibanez continues to struggle at the plate.
Maybe Mike Trout is quietly getting hot. The center fielder, who missed some time with a back injury last week, has hit in 15 of his past 16 games, and his eighth-inning grand slam Saturday night against White Sox starter Chris Sale tied the game and set up a 6-5 victory.
"I saw the replay this morning, and I was thinking, ‘That was not a mistake.’ That was a pretty good pitch, a really good pitch." — Angels manager Mike Scioscia, to MLB.com, on the low and away changeup that Mike Trout hit off Chris Sale for a grand slam.