Los Angeles Angels: Dodgers

3 up, 3 down: Angels 8, Dodgers 5

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
10:41
PM PT


ANAHEIM -- Perhaps the Angels simply wanted to give their rivals up the Interstate 5 freeway something to get excited about early in the game. After all, the Dodgers had only scored two runs in their last three games when they finally exploded for five in the first two innings against the Angels on Friday night to take an early 5-0 lead.

While the start of the game was a sight for sore eyes in the Dodgers’ dugout, the ending was a familiar one for the Angels and Dodgers, two teams going in opposite directions to begin the summer.

The Angels’ 8-5 win over the Dodgers on Friday was the Angels’ 21st win in their last 28 games as they now have an MLB-best 32-18 record since April 28. Meanwhile the loss was the Dodgers’ fourth straight, one off their season-high.

The Good:

The comeback. By the time many fans, who had been stuck in Friday afternoon traffic, made it to their seats in the bottom of the first inning, the Angels were already down 3-0 and would soon be down 5-0 in the top of the second inning before the Angels mounted a comeback. The Angels responded by scoring three runs in the second and three more in the third to take a 6-5 lead. The final two runs of the comeback came on a squeeze play by Bobby Wilson which scored Erick Aybar and was followed by a Mike Trout home run to left centerfield. Trout’s homer brought the 44,545 in attendance, the largest regular-season crowd in the reconfigured Angel Stadium, to their feet.

T&T. There is no question the reason the Angels have an MLB-best 33-18 record since April 28 is because of Trout. It is no coincidence the team’s turnaround began as soon as he was brought up on, you guessed it, April 28. Mark Trumbo, however, deserves some credit too. On Friday night Trout and Trumbo combined to go 2-for-7 with three runs and one homer.

Solid bullpen. Perhaps the unsung heroes of the Angels’ turnaround this season have been the relief pitchers in their bullpen. In their first 32 games the Angels’ bullpen was 1-6-5 with a 4.70 ERA. In their last 39 games they are 6-2-10 with a 1.99 ERA. On Friday night, the relief pitchers for the Angels took over for Dan Haren in the sixth inning and allowed only three hits and no runs to seal the Angels’ 21st win in their last 28 games.

The Bad:

Shaky start. To say Haren had a shaky start Friday night would be putting it mildly. Haren gave up five runs in the first two innings and finally took a seat after pitching five innings. Although he settled himself after the first two innings and was credited with the win, he still gave up five earned runs and nine hits and had a 4.24 ERA.

Not there yet. There is no question Albert Pujols, much like the Angels, is light years ahead of where he was at the start of the season. He is still, however, nowhere near where the team needs him to be and where it looked like he was headed two weeks ago. Pujols only has five hits in his last 28 at-bats and was 1-for-4 on Friday night with no runs. His current slump has to be especially disconcerting considering he has been facing National League pitching he is more familiar with.

Howie you doing? You won’t find this stat in the game notes but it is entirely possible that Howie Kendrick leads the league in having bats flying into the stands. It happened again Friday night as he has had made life far harder on fans sitting on the baselines than infielders over the past week. After going 0-for-3 on Friday he only has two hits in his last 13 at-bats.

Trumbo excels without the hype

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
7:25
PM PT
ANAHEIM – When Mark Trumbo saw the newest novelty item being sold in the Angels’ team store appear in the dugout before the Angels played the Dodgers on Friday night, he laughed. As reporters and players passed around a foam hat in the shape of a trout with Mike Trout’s signature on it, Trumbo even grabbed it and inspected the new item.

While Trout is surely the biggest story on the Angels at the moment and the biggest reason for their turnaround, Trumbo has been every bit as important but he totally understands if he doesn’t get any foam hats or fingers with his signature on it in the team store any time soon.

“That’s fine,” said Trumbo, who is batting .324 with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs this season.

Trumbo’s season may have come as a surprise to some but not Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who saw the potential of the 26-year old left fielder when he was in Triple-A.

“I think Mark even in the minor leagues showed the potential to do some of the things he’s been able to do in the major league,” Scioscia said. “Last year the power showed up. He’s a guy who can be a game-changer with one swing of the bat and that’s an important part of anybody’s lineup. I think this season he has taken it a step further with understanding the league a little better and understanding different situations. I think he has grown as offensive player but what he is doing right now is something he’s always had the potential to do. He’s been as good as anybody in our league.”

Here are lineups for Friday's game, with the Angels facing Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley.

Dodgers

Dee Gordon SS
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
Andre Ethier RF
Bobby Abreu DH
Juan Rivera LF
James Loney 1B
Adam Kennedy 3B
A.J. Ellis C
Tony Gwynn Jr. CF
Chad Billingsley RHP (4-5, 3.75)

Angels

Mike Trout CF
Torii Hunter RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Mark Trumbo LF
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Erick Aybar SS
Bobby Wilson C
Dan Haren RHP (4-7, 3.97)

For the first time in 39 years...

July, 6, 2011
7/06/11
9:32
AM PT
The Angels pitching staff has a chance to do something none in Anaheim has done since 1972. If Tyler Chatwood and the bullpen can hold the Detroit Tigers to one or zero runs today, the Angels will have gone an entire five-man turn in their rotation allowing one run or fewer.

The last time the Angels did that, Nolan Ryan, Clyde Wright, Andy Messersmith and Rudy May were the team's starters. May pitched the first game of that run, on Sept. 24, and the fifth.

This current run of dominance started with Jered Weaver's masterful outing against the Dodgers Saturday and ended with Dan Haren's more-masterful outing against the Tigers Tuesday night.

How good was Haren? It was only the third time in team history that an Angels pitcher has allowed two or fewer hits, no walks, at least nine strikeouts and completed the shutout, according to Elias. The other guys to do it were Mike Witt in his 1984 no-hitter and John Lackey in his 2006 one-hitter.

Angels Moment No. 1: Opening Day, 1961

April, 7, 2011
4/07/11
1:55
PM PT
Opening Day 50 years ago was more about curiosity than excitement.

Nobody really expected the expansion Angels to do much in 1961, considering they were assembled with a “bunch of castoffs and guys who’d never made it,” according to one of those players.

Center fielder Albie Pearson wasn’t so much a castoff as a latch-on. It wasn’t an accident that he ended up wearing a Los Angeles Angels uniform.

Most of those original Angels were plucked from other teams’ rosters either unwittingly or unwillingly, but Pearson had made it his aim to come home.

He grew up in El Monte, about 15 miles east of the Angels’ first ballpark, Wrigley Field. He used to show up there as a kid to watch the Hollywood Stars or the Angels of the Pacific Coast League.

After spending part of the 1960 season with the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A team in Miami, he wrote a letter imploring Angels general manager Fred Haney to pick him in the expansion draft. Pearson had ruptured a disc in his back the previous season. For some odd reason, few teams were interested in a 5-foot-5, 129-pound outfielder with dubious health.

“Dear Mr. Haney,” Pearson recalls writing, “My back is well and I’m ready to play. I think I can really help your ballclub and I’d like you to give me a shot. I want to go home and play in my hometown.”

Haney obliged and selected Pearson with the Angels’ 28th, and final, pick. For the rest of his career, which stretched nine seasons, Pearson wore No. 28 in honor of that moment. Not only did Pearson make the team, but on Opening Day, he was in the lineup and batting third in front of slugger Ted Kluszewski.

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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Garrett Richards
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.71 119 116
OTHER LEADERS
BAM. Trout .303
HRM. Trout 20
RBIM. Trout 64
RM. Trout 60
OPSM. Trout .986
ERAG. Richards 2.71
SOG. Richards 119