Monday, April 22, 2013
Week ahead: Angels, Twins
By Todd Wills
The Rangers opened a three-game series Monday at their American League West rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. The focus this time around should be the second of six series between the teams, not Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton. The Rangers finish the week with a four-game series in frigid Minnesota.
Here are some things to watch for:
Rangers atop the West: The Rangers moved back into sole possession of first place Sunday by a half-game after their sweep of the Seattle Mariners, which coincided with the A's losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers are 9-4 against AL West rivals Seattle and Los Angeles.
Angels on the move: The Angels, off to another brutal start at 7-10, have won three consecutive games after Mark Trumbo's walk-off home run Sunday completed a sweep of Detroit. The Angels are 14-25 in April over the last two seasons, but they may have turned a corner with Sunday's emotional win over one of the American League's preseason favorites.
Trumbo, Trout heating up: Third-year player Trumbo and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout have the Angels' offense at the top of the American League in batting average. Trumbo has reached base in all 17 games and has hits in 15 of them. His walk-off homer against Tigers reliever Phil Coke was his second of the season. Trout has 13 hits in his last seven games, raising his batting average to .307. He also had two stolen bases Sunday, giving him three for the season.
Improved Twins: The Twins have won four straight after Josh Willingham's three-run double in the seventh inning gave Minnesota a 5-3 victory and a two-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox. The Twins moved above the .500 mark at 8-7 and are a game behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
Mauer starts strong: Twins catcher Joe Mauer is in his familiar spot among the AL leaders with a .375 batting average, sixth best in the AL. Rangers DH Lance Berkman is right in front of him at .378. Mauer has two home runs, seven RBIs and has a .437 on-base average -- Berkman leads the AL with a .509 on-base average.