No clutch hits for Angels

The Angels were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Saturday’s defeat to the Dodgers, raising old questions about offensive continuity. With Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick on the disabled list, the Angels haven’t been able to find an offensive flow.

“We taolked about it for the last couple of weeks,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Right now we’re in a lull. We’re not driving the ball like we did earlier in the year. We’re not setting the table and when we do set teh table we’re not getting the situational hitting. This thing will turn around.

“We’re very capable of scoring 10 runs like we did this week against the White Sox. But we need that consistency, getting two runners on every inning, pushing the envelope. We can’t do things we like to do in our running game because we haven’t set the table like we like to.”

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Figgins return draws near

Manager Mike Scioscia said he isn’t sure if Chone Figgins will go on a rehab assignment, but it seems certain that the Angels’ third baseman will return at some point during the upcoming road trip to Toronto and Chicago. Figgins has been out of action since May 4 with a strained right hamstring.

Injuries to Figgins and Howie Kendrick (strained left hamstring) have hurt offensive chemistry. Consistent run scoring has been a problem of late.

“Well, if you look at the numbers with runners in scoring position, early Figgy was a big part of seeting the table,” Scioscia said before Saturday’s game. “Some of those numbers have maybe become a little stagnant in the last couple of weeks. But it’s not just Figgy, it’s a lot of the guys.

“You certainly have to be deep enough to absorb 2-3 guys at various times that are going to be out for awhile during the season. I think what we’ve experienced the last couple weeks is not only having guys out of the lineup, but guys not swinging the bats to their capabilities. So we haven’t been setting the table as well as we could.

“Even with these guys out of the lineup, we have a good offensive team. We haven’t performed to the level we need to, I’m sure there’s some important roles for guys who have been out, but I think the lion’s share of it is some of the guys we know are going to swing the bat well haven’t hit stride yet and that’s impacting our offense.”

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Santana's slow down continues

After starting the season 6-0 through seven starts, Ervin Santana hasn’t looked the same over his last two outings. He is currently down 4-1 to the Dodgers in the fourth inning after giving up a two-run home run to rookie Blake DeWitt and RBI singles to Andre Ethier and Russell Martin. In his last start, last weekend at Tampa Bay, Santana gave up a season-high five earned runs in an eve ntual no-decision.

Santana is seeking to become just the third Angels pitcther to start a season with a 7-0 record. Jered Weaver did it in 2006m eventually taking his record to 9-0. Aaron Sele opened 2004 with a 7-0 mark.

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Angels' power outage

The 98-degree day (at first pitch) just might come in handy as the Angels try to solve their power problems. They have hit just one home run in eight games since May 9. On that day, the Angels were tied for second in the AL with 38 home runs. They are now seventh with 39. Dodgers starter Chan Ho Park has given up four home runs already in just 25 innings this season so combine that with the hot weather and perhaps the Angels will carry some drives out of the park.

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Izturis returns … then sits

Maicer Izturis (strained lower back) was reinstated from the disabled list today while reliever Darren O’Day was sent back to Triple-A Salt Lake. But so much for making a triumphant return as Izturis was on the bench to start the game while rookie Sean Rodriguez got another start at second base after collecting two hits Monday.

Manager Mike Scioscia was asked before Tuesday’s game if Izturis was having any problems while batting form the right side of the plate, which had previously been bothering him

“He’s OK,” Scioscia said. “He hit right-handed (Monday) night (in a rehab start at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga) and felt fine. I think we’re going to use him (Wednesday) from the left side against (White Sox starter Jose) Contreras. We might use him at some point tonight but I think we’ll let Sean start and see how it goes.”

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Quinlan salivating about now

There is no word yet on whether or not Robb Quinlan is in the Angels lineup tonight against Chicago White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle (manager Mike Scioscia likes to keep lineup decisions private until the last minute). But it seems safe to assume Quinlan will find his name somewhere in the order tonight.

In his career, Quinlan is batting an easy .409 against Buehrle (9 hits in 22 at-bats) with two doubles, three home runs and five RBI. And that doesn’t even include the home run Quinlan hit off Buehrle in Game 2 of the 2005 American League Championship Series. So look for Quinlan at first base or third base tonight. If they could, you’d think the Angels would have him play both positions just to get more at-bats.

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Angels players of the month

The Angels announced their organizational players of the month, which means these are the top minor-league guys, not the guys who distinguished themselves on the major-league level. Those honored for April:

Triple-A Salt Lake INF Matt Brown was named the Player of the Month after batting .426 (43/101) with 25 runs scored, 10 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 22 RBI in 23 games; RHP Mason Tobin, who was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA (15 IP – 0 ER) and one complete game shutout, eight hits, three walks and eight strikeouts in three starts for single-A Cedar Rapids, was named Pitcher of the Month; and triple-A Salt Lake OF Brad Coon was named Defensive Player of the Month, after committing no errors in 57 total chances (55 PO/2 A) in 21 games.

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Angels making a historic run

The Angels entered Tuesday’s game at K.C. with a 21-13 record, among one of the best starts in franchise history. Here is how they compare to the past.

Best starts in team history after 35 games
2004 23-12
1970 23-12
1995 22-13
1989 22-13
1982 22-13

After 36 games
2004 24-12
1970 24-12
1989 23-13
1982 23-13
1995 22-14

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Saunders, Santana near elite group

Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana both are 5-0 this season and are abouot to enter into an elite group of starting pitching combos that opened the season undefeated. They still would need three more victories combined, without a defeat, to make the list, which was compiled by STATS LLC:

All STARTING Pitching Duos That Started a Season 6-0 or Better, Since 1920

(record listed is when both were undefeated at the latest date; one might have had a longer streak after the other first lost)

THRU

1920 5/12 Cleveland Indians: Stan Coveleski 7-0 Jim Bagby 6-0

1946 5/26 Boston Red Sox: Boo Ferriss 7-0 Mickey Harris 7-0

1953 6/14 New York Yankees: Whitey Ford 7-0 Ed Lopat 7-0

1981 5/17 Los Angeles Dodgers: Burt Hooton 6-0 Fernando Valenzuela 8-0

1988 5/27 Houston Astros: Bob Knepper 6-0 Mike Scott 6-0

2001 6/08 Seattle Mariners: Freddy Garcia 6-0 Aaron Sele 8-0

2002 6/07 Boston Red Sox: Pedro Martinez 7-0 John Burkett 7-0

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Scioscia HR is "surreal"

Angels manager Mike Scioscia must be one proud papa. His son Matt Scioscia, a freshman at Notre Dame, connected for his first collegiate hit, a home run to cap a Fighting Irish victory. Here is the link to the story in the “South Bend Tribune.” Among the descriptions Matt Scioscia used to describe the HR: “Awesome” and “surreal.” Matt Scioscia had been 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and two walks before the home run.

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