It was a down, then up last seven days for the Angels as they inched ever closer to .500. The pitching staff has been very impressive lately, albeit against some of the more offensively-challenged teams in the league. The Angels allowed a total of 11 runs since last Friday and allowed no more than three runs in any of those games. A big part of the bullpen’s turnaround can be credited to a pitcher that wasn’t on the team on Opening Day.
Most Strikeouts Per 9 Innings Pitched Since May 5 (Min. 100 pitches)
FRIERI LITERALLY UNHITTABLE
When the Angels acquired Ernesto Frieri on May 3 for minor leaguers Donn Roach and Alexi Amarista they never could have expected him to be this dominant. He was a solid reliever for San Diego with an ERA in the low twos and a good strikeout rate. Since making his Angels debut two days after the trade, Frieri has pitched 8 2/3 innings and has not allowed a hit. Of the 26 outs he’s recorded as an Angel, only seven of them were put in play.
Frieri has been extremely tough on left-handed hitters. He’s faced 18 of them since the trade – five walked and twelve struck out. The only lefty to put a ball in play against him since he joined the Halos was his former teammate Chase Headley, who popped out to short.
DID FIRING HATCHER FIX THE MACHINE?
It’s only been a week and a half since Mickey Hatcher was fired as the Angels hitting coach, so it’s probably a bit early to crunch numbers to see if the team has improved. But I was curious and ran the numbers anyway. In nine games under Jim Eppard, the team’s batting average and runs per game is actually down a bit (BA down .015, Runs PG down 0.2).
However, as scripted, Albert Pujols is suddenly once again Albert Pujols. With Hatcher as the hitting coach, he was in the bottom 10 among qualifiers in slugging at .288. Since the firing, Pujols is slugging .639 – which is in line with his career numbers.
SANTANA SLIDING BACK INTO FORM
Ervin Santana gets the start today looking to continue his string of solid starts since the calendar turned May. Run support was certainly an issue in Santana’s 0-5 record in April, but a 6.16 ERA and 10 home runs allowed is awful any way you slice it. In May Santana has been much better, striking out 26 in 29 innings. A big reason for his success lately has been his slider. Opposing hitters are just 5-for-39 with 18 strikeouts in at-bats ending in a Santana slider this month.