The Los Angeles Angels are showing signs of life offensively during their winning streak, but it might be difficult to continue as they face one of the toughest pitchers in the AL.
Red-hot Albert Pujols and the host Angels seek a season-high sixth straight win Tuesday night when Chris Archer stands in their way looking to help the Tampa Bay Rays avoid their eighth loss in 10 games.
Los Angeles (28-24) was hitting an AL-worst .232 while ranking second-to-last with 3.72 runs per game before batting .301 and averaging 6.6 runs over its past five.
The Angels have hit 13 home runs in those games after clubbing four in Monday’s series-opening 7-3 win. Pujols went 3 for 5 with his first multi-homer game, while Mike Trout hit a three-run shot and David Freese added a solo blast.
Pujols is 8 for 19 with five homers during the win streak to move within one of Jimmie Foxx for 17th place all-time with 533. He’s also gone 9 for 22 with four home runs over his last five meetings with the Rays.
”It took us a while to get going, but we’ll take it anytime,” Pujols said.
The Angels, however, should find things more difficult as they try to improve to 7-2 on their 10-game homestand.
Archer (5-4, 2.12 ERA) is coming off the best performance of his outstanding start, allowing two hits over eight shutout innings while matching a career high with 12 strikeouts in Wednesday’s 3-0 home loss to Seattle.
Archer’s batting average against (.192) ranks second in the AL to Houston’s Dallas Keuchel (.183). He’s also has the league’s fifth-best ERA, but the Rays (26-26) have provided two runs of support or fewer in seven of 11 outings.
"I try to keep the same approach that I have been since spring training, since last year, since the year before that," Archer, who has posted an 0.45 ERA in winning his three road outings, told MLB’s official website.
Since May 16, 2014, when he threw 5 2-3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 win in Anaheim, Archer’s 1.55 ERA away from home is by far the best in the majors of anyone with at least 15 road starts.
Erick Aybar’s only hit in 10 at-bats off Archer was a home run, while Pujols is 3 for 6 and Trout is 4 for 9 with three walks.
C.J. Wilson will try to contribute to a rotation that has a 2.10 ERA with seven quality starts on the homestand. He’s 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his past four home starts and is 11-2 with a 3.42 mark over his last 19.
He allowed one run despite issuing five walks and hitting a batter over six innings in Thursday’s 12-2 home win over Detroit.
Wilson (3-3, 3.18) threw a five-hit shutout in his last home meeting with the Rays on May 17, 2014, but then gave up six runs over 1 1-3 innings at Tropicana Field on Aug. 2 after missing almost a month due to injury.
Evan Longoria is 3 for 10 with two homers off Wilson since 2012, though Asdrubal Cabrera has gone just 1 for 10 since 2013.
Kevin Kiermaier had two of the team’s six hits and Nick Franklin snapped an 0-for-25 slump with a two-run home run Monday. The Rays, however, failed to score more than three runs for the seventh time during this 2-7 stretch.