The LA Angels came back to Anaheim for a short homestand, three games to be exact as they took on the Cincinnati Reds. Thanks to strong pitching by Matt Shoemaker, Jered Weaver, and now Ricky Nolasco the Angels swept the Reds.
Just two weeks ago the LA Angels were reeling having lost 11 games in a row, where everything that could go wrong did. Since that stretch that saw the Angels go 2-11 and threatening to have the worst month in club history, the Angels turned it around going 10-5 in their last 15 games.
What has been the major difference has been the pitching. The first 13 games of the month the Angels only had two quality starts (one each by Shoemaker and Nolasco), compared to 10 in the last 15 games. The Angels have won eight of their last 10 games winning their last three series over playoff contenders the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers as well as the Reds.
The Angels bats have also picked up since the return of CJ Cron two weeks ago. Albert Pujols has been on fire hitting .388 with four homers and 10 RBI’s during that span. Mike Trout has also been on fire hitting .396 with three homers and nine RBI’s during that same stretch. Cron has hit .333 with five homers and 18 RBI’s. Jefry Marte has also been a key contributor hitting three home runs and driving in nine runs in his last 15 games. Andrelton Simmons has also contributed with five RBI’s while batting .296 during the hot streak.
The question is, can the Angels continue to keep their streak going as they go on the road for six games against Seattle and Oakland, before returning home for a 10 game stretch against Texas, Seattle, and Toronto. With a flurry of young talent sure to be called up in the next few days the Angels will have a lot of players hungry to make a good showing.
Going back to the series against the Reds this week, All three pitchers, Shoemaker, Weaver, and Nolasco working into at least the seventh inning. Nolasco’s start today was the most impressive as he threw a complete game four-hit shutout striking out seven Reds on only 94 pitches. Nolasco was in such control the game finished in just over two hours (2:10).
C.J. Cron supplied the offense again driving in two runs and Jefry Marte drove in one run. What makes today’s win even more special is that both Albert Pujols and Mike Trout were given the day off. It marked the first time since September 14, 2014 (the day after the Angels clinched the AL West title that season) that the both Trout and Pujols were not in the line-up.
The shutout was the first for Nolasco since September 9, 2012 vs. Miami. “It’s definitely nice and a good feeling to be out there trying to get the last out,” said Nolasco to Austin Laymance of MLB. Com . “We made some good plays behind me and scored some runs when we needed to, and that was good.”