Angels in a must-win situation heading into final three games

Mike Trout

Mike Trout will lead Angels in the final three games at Texas/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels


The Angels have been left for dead several times already this season, but have always found a way to get themselves back into playoff contention.

Well, the Angels have taken a couple of giant steps in reverse the past two games, losing Wednesday to Oakland in that series finale and losing again Thursday at Texas in the first of a four-game series.

In Wednesday’s 8-7 loss, the A’s had a four-run seventh inning. In Thursday’s 5-3 setback, the Rangers had a four-run fifth.

With just three games left, the Angels began play Friday a game behind Houston for the final wild-card spot. The Minnesota Twins were tied with the Angels.

The Angels (83-76) will start Jered Weaver (7-12) on Friday at Texas (87-72), which will start Martin Perez (3-6). The Rangers’ magic number to clinch the AL West is one, so they won’t be taking it easy, that’s for sure.


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Angels’ Joe Smith says he’ll return from sprained ankle Wednesday

Joe Smith said he will return from a sprained ankle on Wednesday to assist a taxed Angels bullpen. The set-up man for closer Huston Street, who is likely sidelined for the rest of the regular season, isn’t sure what his role will be.

“Most likely back end, but we’re still going to have to match up a little bit and that doesn’t mean that Joe might not come in in the eighth inning to get out of something real heavy and maybe somebody else is the closer,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I’m not going to rule out that he won’t be closing, you know what I mean. So I guess basically, we’ll see.” Continue reading

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Five things to take from Angels’ 3-2 victory over the Mariners

Huston Street/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels


– First and foremost, the news on Huston Street was not great, but it could have been worse. He has a Grade 1 strain of his left groin sustained in Saturday’s game. He told reporters after Sunday’s game his return during the regular season is doubtful, but that he was going to try hard to be ready for the postseason should the Angels make it. The Angels enter play Monday still just a half-game out of the second wild-card spot.

– Before this game, set-up man Joe Smith told this newspaper his ankle is feeling better. “It’s better, I’m walking,” he said. But Smith is not yet ready to return. If he can get back in the next couple of days, it’s likely he’ll be put into Street’s closer’s role.

David Freese hit another big home run, smacking No. 13 in the bottom of the fifth inning for a 2-1 Angels lead. Freese is hitting .329 with two home runs and 10 RBIs this month after missing 5 1/2 weeks with a fractured finger.

Jered Weaver was able to manage just five innings and 71 pitches because of tightness in his pitching shoulder. He said he doesn’t expect to miss his next start, however. Asked if he’s had this in the past, he said, “Yeah, for about nine years.”

– You have to love the tenacity of Johnny Giavotella. He singled to open the bottom of the eighth, but turned it into a double when centerfielder Brad Miller took his time getting the ball into the infield. Taylor Featherston ran for Giavotella and, after being sacrificed to second by Erick Aybar, he scored on an RBI single by Kole Calhoun. It was RBI No. 80 for Calhoun, who has established himself as one of the better overall right-fielders this season.

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Mike Trout calls Saturday’s spectacular catch his best ever

Mike Trout

Mike Trout/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels


Understandably, there was still a lot of talk Sunday morning about the spectacular catch Angels centerfielder Mike Trout made in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners. Trout’s catch – which saw him make like Spider Man, climbing the ball to where his waist was even with the top of it – robbed Jesus Montero of a 3-run home run.

It was about three hours before Sunday’s series finale. Trout had all night to think about the catch that helped his team stay a half-game behind Houston for the second wild-card spot. Though he has made some terrific catches in the past, he had decided this was his best.

“Yeah, I think so, for sure,” he said.

Trout said that he and other outfielders practice home-run-robbing in batting practice, though he was quick to note they don’t necessarily climb the wall.

“Scioscia would kill us,” Trout said, laughing. “We mess around in BP every day, trying to just have fun with it, but everything worked out perfect,” he said. “It was just the timing of it. Going up there and getting it. It happened probably about three or four times (before), I would climb the wall and it was either too far or I’d climb too much to the right, or too much to the left.”

It’s the best catch manager Mike Scioscia can remember seeing.

“I mean, you’ve gotta go out there and see just how high he got up, and he’s using the fence to kind of hang just enough to where he could catch that ball,” he said. “It’s incredible.”

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