After their best road trip in nearly 50 years, the Los Angeles
Angels are hoping to carry that success into their first home game
in 15 days.
A matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers might help.
Before heading back on the road again, the Angels start a
three-game set Monday night against the Brewers, losers in 10 of 14
on the road.
Los Angeles (36-30) has overcome a slow start by winning 15 of
its last 19 and used a 4-1 finish to its previous homestand as a
springboard into its season-high 14-game trek.
The Angels were 11-3 over those two weeks – the franchise’s most
wins on one trip since 1962 – and capped that run with their first
sweep at Dodger Stadium in 14 seasons of interleague play. Mike
Napoli’s eighth-inning homer proved the difference in Sunday’s 6-5
win, and Hideki Matsui added to his stellar month by going 3 for 4
with two RBIs.
Matsui is hitting .417 with 12 RBIs in June, while Erick Aybar
has batted .424 over his last 14 games. Howie Kendrick was 7 for 14
in the three games against the Dodgers and has 18 of his 41 RBIs
since May 29.
“Winning cures everything, and we’re doing a lot of it,”
outfielder Torii Hunter said. “We want to act like we’re still on
the road. I might keep my bags packed.”
That run has helped the Angels stay one-half game behind AL
West-leading Texas, and they’ll try to get past the Rangers with 15
of their next 18 games at home. After facing the Brewers, Los
Angeles plays three games at the Chicago Cubs before opening a
season-high 12-game homestand.
First, the Angels will try to earn their eighth victory in 10
home games, and help Joe Saunders (5-6, 4.35 ERA) win a season-high
third consecutive start.
After giving up seven runs at home against Seattle on May 30,
Saunders yielded one in each of his two outings on the road trip.
The left-hander recorded his second complete game this season,
scattering seven hits in a 7-1 win over Oakland on Wednesday.
Saunders is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA over his last seven starts but
1-5 with a 6.34 ERA this season at home. In his first start against
Milwaukee, he’ll face a team that’s batted .239 during an 11-21
stretch and .194 over its last eight contests.
The Brewers (26-37) had three hits in Sunday’s 7-2 home loss to
Texas but two were home runs from Prince Fielder, born in nearby
Fielder has never played in Anaheim but had a strong series
earlier this season at Dodger Stadium, going 5 for 12 (.417) with
one home run and four RBIs.
Another California native, Randy Wolf (4-6, 5.31), is 0-1 with a
6.35 ERA in two career matchups against the Angels – both at Dodger
Stadium – and 0-2 with a 10.32 ERA in two starts this month.
The left-hander gave up a season-high eight runs and nine hits
in his latest start, a 9-4 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday.
“I’m making a lot of mistakes out there and I’m not getting away
with any of them,” Wolf said. “I’m better than that. I’ve just got
to find a way to get better than that.”
The Angels hold a 4-2 edge since the Brewers joined the NL in
1998 but dropped two of three at home to Milwaukee from June 8-10,