Week ahead for Angels: Two division leaders visit Anaheim

The week ahead

The Angels begin arguably their toughest stretch of games (all of which can be seen on FOX Sports West, and even though the next eight are at home, they won’t be easy. The Baltimore Orioles come to Angel Stadium for three, followed by the Detroit Tigers for four. Both teams lead their respective divisions. Looking beyond this week, there are road games at Baltimore, Tampa Bay and the Dodgers coming up.

The week behind

The Angels picked up where they left off before the All-Star break, taking two of three from the Seattle Mariners, although it was a challenge. They won in 16 innings Friday night, lost in 12 innings on Saturday, then needed a walk-off single by Grant Green in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday to win 6-5. It gave the Halos their 30th come-from-behind win of the season, most in the majors.

Record and standings

The AL West-leading Oakland A’s remain an elusive target. At 59-38, the Angels are still second in the division, 1 1/2 games behind Oakland. That’s been the margin between the teams for five consecutive days, not including the All-Star break. Mark down these dates: Aug. 22-24 and Aug. 28-31, the next two series against the A’s — with the latter four games in Anaheim.

Thumb’s up

With Erick Aybar nursing a groin injury, Grant Green got his first career big-league start at shortstop on Sunday. After going hitless in his first four at-bats, he delivered in a big way, driving home Josh Hamilton with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth and earning the perfunctory water dousing from his teammates.

Thumb’s down

On Sunday, left-hander Tyler Skaggs had a rough first inning followed by five good innings followed by a rough seventh. With C.J. Wilson sidelined by a sprained right ankle and Hector Santiago thrust into the rotation despite his struggles, the Angels need Skaggs needs to throw more effectively. In his past two starts, he’s given up 15 hits and 11 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Player to watch

The trade for closer Huston Street could be just the thing to push the Angels over the top — assuming the A’s eventually fade. Street was 33 for 35 in saves with the San Diego Padres, and although he hasn’t pitched in the American League since 2008 — and for the A’s no less — he figures to be the X factor the Angels need in their bullpen. With Street, Joe Smith and Kevin Jepsen working in the back end, the Halos are primed to close out games down the stretch.

Stat watch

June 15-16: That’s the last time the Angels lost two games in a row. That’s a span of five weeks, and in that time they’ve gone 22-6. Here’s one more stat: The Angels have eight walk-off wins this season.


"I’ve known him for 15 years. I told him I would do that one day." – Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols, who mimicked the bow-and-arrow routine of Mariners closer Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning Sunday after Rodney did the same to the Angels in the previous inning