Los Angeles Angels: interleague play

Ahhhh, interleague play

June, 7, 2012
6/07/12
1:38
PM PT
The Angels' pattern in recent seasons has been to flounder around at about .500 for a few months, get into June and take off. In their wake, they leave behind a trail of flattened National League teams.

The Angels have the best record in the majors in interleague play since 2007, going 63-30. They have won nine of their last 10 series against National League teams. And this year, they have Albert Pujols, who won three MVP awards in the NL.

Just getting into more familiar environments -- Coors Field and Dodger Stadium -- might help ignite Pujols. Batting .244 with eight home runs, he's off to the worst start of his career, though the past three weeks have been easily his best of the season.

"I guess it's good to see guys you've faced before, but I don't know who we're facing in Colorado, probably somebody I haven't faced before," Pujols said. "I don't look at it like that. There's not any advantage or disadvantage. Guys are trying to get you out and your job is to try to make adjustments."

The Angels are scheduled to face Alex White and Christian Friedrich this weekend. Just as he suspected, Pujols has yet to face either one. The Rockies still haven't named their starter for Saturday's game. But after Sunday, the Angels still have 12 consecutive games against the National League.

Another asset the Angels have going for them this year is a couple of pitchers who can -- relatively speaking -- swing the bat. Dan Haren was among the best-hitting pitchers in baseball when he was in Arizona and C.J. Wilson had designs on making a career as an outfielder when he was at Loyola Marymount.

Haren, who is 6-5 with a 3.69 ERA in his career against Colorado, said he loves the National League game and not just because he gets to hit.

"I think it really keeps a pitcher in the game," Haren said. "There's more strategy with the pitching, in terms of pitching around guys, there's a lot more bunting, playing for one run."

Playing for one run -- as in, trying to avoid getting shut out -- is something the Angels did a lot earlier this year. So, maybe that's one more thing they have going for them in this stretch.

Angels 2, Marlins 1: Three Up, Three Down

June, 20, 2011
6/20/11
9:09
PM PT
The Angels continued to tear through the National League, beating the Florida Marlins 2-1 behind another dominant performance from ace Jered Weaver (9-4) Monday night. The Angels have now won five of their seven interleague games this season.

The Good:

Hard work. Weaver looks like a leading contender to start the All-Star game for the American League next month, but things haven't been coming easy for him lately. He had to throw 121 pitches to get through seven innings Monday night. He's getting used to heavy workloads. Weaver has thrown more than 120 pitches in four of his last five starts.

The spark. Setting the table generally hasn't been a problem this year. Part of the reason for that is Maicer Izturis, who has given the Angels stability at the top of the order. He had three hits in four at-bats and scored the winning run. He and Erick Aybar played a nice two-man game in that eighth-inning hit-and-run. Izturis' jump created a hole on the right side and Aybar bounced it through to put the go-ahead run at third with one out. Torii Hunter pulled the ball, but Izturis was off with contact and scored easily.

Kid closer. Jordan Walden hasn't been perfect this year, but he's generally done an awfully good job in his first season as the closer. Walden has saved nine straight chances and hasn't blown a save since May 16. With his wicked slider and 100-mph fastball, he's got the tools for the job. His confidence seems to be catching up.

The Bad:

Weather. The Angels have walked into ugly weather all over the country. Monday's game was delayed nearly two hours by rain. It was the Angels' eighth rain delay this year. Add them all up and that's nearly 10 hours of waiting around.

Opportunity. Obscured by a few good at-bats and Weaver's outing: more poor situational hitting and general futility. The Angels were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and somehow squeezed just two runs out of 11 hits. They didn't draw a single walk.

Miami baseball. The Marlins are building a pretty cool ballpark where the Orange Bowl used to be, but they don't exactly have a lot of momentum going to open the new building right now. They're 1-19 in June and their stadium was barely one-third full Monday night.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169