Los Angeles Angels: Jeff Francis

Royals 4, Angels 2: Three Up, Three Down

June, 10, 2011
ANAHEIM -- The Angels reached rock bottom Friday night. At least, they hope they did.

For the ninth straight game, the Angels failed to score more than three runs and, for the sixth straight time, they lost. This time it was by a score of 4-2 and it was to the struggling Kansas City Royals and their soft-tossing lefty, Jeff Francis. The Angels are stuck in their longest home losing streak since April 2002.

They slipped six games out in the AL West and are holding off the Oakland A's, who ended a 10-game losing streak Friday, by just two games to avoid last place.

The Good:

Half-a-lineup. For the second straight game, the top five hitters did virtually all the damage, what little there was anyway. Maicer Izturis, Torii Hunter, Howie Kendrick, Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells were on base seven times, drove in both runs and scored them, too.

Hurt guys. Since Kendrick and Wells came back from the disabled list, they had combined to go 2-for-25. Both of them showed signs of getting their timing back Friday. Kendrick lined a double into right-center -- his go-to spot -- and Wells pulled a single into left. It was a start. Maybe?

Creativity. You don't see many 5-6 double plays, but Izturis and Erick Aybar aren't ordinary defenders. Fielding generally has not been a problem and Izturis, who plays three positions at Gold Glove level, is among the reasons why. He dove to catch Jeff Francoeur's line drive, then lobbed it to Aybar, who alertly covered third. Cabrera apparently thought it was headed for left field, because he was double off the bag.

The Bad:

Snap judgment. As bad as the Angels are going, they can't afford to give up runs or even base runners. Third-base coach Dino Ebel waved Abreu around third after Wells' line-drive single to left in the sixth inning and Alex Gordon made an accurate throw to nail him. It was an aggressive base-running play, typical of the Angels' m.o. This time, it didn't work. Therefore, it was a bad decision.

Efficiency. That sixth inning was the game for the Angels. Soft-tossing lefty Jeff Francis appeared to be unraveling, but somehow the Angels squeezed just two runs out of five hits. It's something different every night, except the result is always this: relentlessly not scoring runs.

Mediocrity. The kind of starts Ervin Santana is churning out would play well on a team with a powerful, deep lineup. On the Yankees or Red Sox, he'd probably be 6-3 instead of 3-6. But the Angels aren't any of those things and Santana's typical four-run evening really didn't give them much of a chance. His problem Friday was spotty command. He walked five batters and was behind frequently.

Royals 7, Angels 3: Three Up, Three Down

May, 31, 2011
AngelsJamie Squire/Getty ImagesAfter Tuesday's defeat in Kansas City, Joel Pineiro has lost four straight starts.

The Angels got off to a quick start in Kansas City on Tuesday, but the offense sputtered after the first inning and Joel Pineiro continued to struggle in a 7-3 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

The Good:

Momentum. The Angels had one of their more complete offensive performances Monday -- flashing some power and bunching hits -- and they seemed to carry that confidence into the first inning. Without taking a walk, they forced struggling lefty Jeff Francis to throw a lot of pitches and four of the first five batters came up with base hits. (See below)

Corners. It's generally a good idea to get offensive production from your first and third basemen, but the Angels got shockingly little in 2010. Mark Trumbo and Alberto Callaspo have been two of the team's hotter hitters, so maybe they won't have to relive that nightmare again this year.

Bell toils. Trevor Bell has been on a shuttle between Triple-A Salt Lake and the big leagues for a few years running, but maybe he has found his niche at last. He gave the Angels a scoreless inning at the end and has now given up only two runs in his last seven innings.

The Bad:

Green light. The Angels had Francis reeling in the first inning, but for some reason, Mike Scioscia gave .240-hitting Peter Bourjos the clearance to swing away on a 3-and-0 count. Typical Angels aggressiveness. Bourjos hit a shallow pop-up to left field, the Angels could cash in only two runs, Francis settled in and they wouldn't get another opportunity this good again.

Stuck on 99. Pineiro has been searching for his 100th win for a while. He pitched great after coming off the disabled list, but he has lost four straight starts and hasn't pitched particularly well. The sinkerball specialist has given up 15 earned runs in those four starts.

Lightweight bench. Right now, Reggie Willits is contributing nothing to this team. He is batting .045 in 25 at-bats and seems to be ordered to bunt every time he comes up. So, why is Willits in the lineup, other than for the fact Bobby Abreu has become a brutally bad outfielder? Look for Willits to head back to Triple-A Salt Lake when Howie Kendrick returns from the disabled list Saturday.



Jered Weaver
18 3.59 169 213
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169