Five things to take from Angels’ 13-0 victory over Texas Rangers

Hector Santiago

Hector Santiago/Photo courtesy of Los Angels Angels

 

Hector Santiago had another solid outing. He tossed seven scorless innings to lower his ERA to 2.40 on the season, which is fourth-best among AL starters. Santiago, who struck out three and walked just one on 104 pitches, is now 5-4. The lack of victories could hurt him for consideration for the All-Star game, but his ERA and WHIP of 1.10 suggest he’d be a good pick.

– The day the Angels saw their GM – Jerry Dipoto – resign, they scored just one run in a 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees at Angel Stadium this past Wednesday. But after a day off to absorb everything, they scored eight times in an 8-2 victory Friday at Texas. Then they scored 13 runs on 17 hits in this one. It makes one wonder just how much tension there was on this team because of the uneasy relationship manager Mike Scioscia and Dipoto apparently had. There is no better way to participate in sports than being free and easy.

– The Angels, who have had season-long issues with their offense, went to a season-high five games (43-38) over .500 with this win. But they won’t stay there if this offense doesn’t score more runs on a regular basis. Even with scoring 21 runs over the past two games, they were still 11th in the league in runs scored (with 324) before Sunday’s series finale at Texas. The Angels were first in the league in 2014.

– The Angels had to feel really good about C.J. Cron’s day. He drove in six runs – he had a three-run home run in the sixth inning – while going 3-for-4. Still, he’s hitting just .216. If the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Cron, who has been up and down from Triple-A a couple of times, can drive in runs consistently, that would be a huge shot in the arm for this team.

– Don’t look now, but after struggling most of the first half, shortstop Erick Aybar has found his groove at the plate. Aybar hit just .222 in April, but then he hit .308 in May to raise his average to .271. He went back in the tank and saw his average dip all the way down to .246 on June 17. He since has gone 22-for-48 (.458) to raise his average to .280. His career average over 9 1/2 seasons – all with the Angels – is .278.

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Angels shift toward a leadoff platoon. Josh Hamilton seems to be the culprit.

Mike Trout has said he enjoys hitting leadoff. It’s what he has done for most of his baseball life and what he did Monday and Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. But he was batting second again for the Angels on Thursday night.

Peter Bourjos, the leadoff hitter Wednesday, wasn’t batting first either.

Erick Aybar was the first man up Thursday after a 13-game absence from the top of the order, and manager Mike Scioscia said that the top of the order could be a rotating affair beyond tonight.
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Kevin Jepsen, Ryan Madson and Erick Aybar give Angels a ‘pretty good team’ at extended spring training.

Kevin Jepsen, Erick Aybar and Ryan Madson are heading to Tempe, Arizona today to continue their rehab at extended spring training.

“Got a pretty good team there, sure,” manager Mike Scioscia said.

In each case, that’s a good sign for the Angels, but the timetable is different for each player’s recovery.
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Mike Trout is batting second, Alberto Callaspo first, as Angels shuffle lineup.

Alberto Callaspo

Albert Callaspo batted leadoff 12 times for the Angels in 2010, hitting .148 with a .179 on-base percentage. He returns to the top of the lineup Thursday. (Associated Press)

Mike Trout has one career start as the Angels’ number-two hitter.

Alberto Callaspo said he didn’t remember the last time he batted leadoff.

Yet that’s where they’ll be batting tonight against the Oakland A’s, and for the immediate future.

It was the first thing Angels manager Mike Scioscia was asked about in his pregame media scrum. The first thing he said in response: “I think it’s just really a common sense move.”

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