It has been quite the couple of weeks for Mike Scioscia’s Angels. The Halos have played seven straight games in California and won all seven, courtesy of the Padres, Giants, and last night the Dodgers. Interleague play has been kind to the Halos no doubt but something has also undeniably clicked amongst this ball club. Over the past week the Angels have put on quite the show. They are 8-2 in their last ten, making them the hottest team in the majors. While the Halos have been streaking the Rangers have fallen on hard times, winning just 4 of there last ten games. With the teams heading in opposite directions, at least for the time being the Angels sit just a half game back of the division lead for the first time in months. The Halos are also currently just one game back of the Yankees for the AL Wild Card. But now that they are in striking distance it is more the clubs strong play that deserves note. For the first time all season this club looks the part of the ’08 Angels who finished with an MLB best 100 wins last season.
Wednesday afternoon was perhaps the best example of the resiliency and consistency that Mike Scioscia’s Angels have finally found. Facing last season’s NL CY Young winner
the starting rotation Matt Palmer had battled valiantly giving up just the three runs on six hits. To start the eighth inning off Mike Scioscia pinch-hit his best brining Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrerro to the plate. They didn’t disappoint. Both singled off Linceum, making Chone Figgins the go ahead run at the plate. “Mr. Clutch” Figgins doubled on a line drive driving in Hunter and leaving Vlad and Chone in scoring position, with no out. The next batter Erick Aybar also singled brining Guerrerro home to tie the game at 3-3. For anyone not watching this game it is hard to explain just how unexpected this Angels burst of offense was. In the previous inning Linceum had set the Angels down in order with just four pitches. Juan Rivera brought Figgins in on a fielder’s choice to give the Angels a 4-3 lead, their bullpen did hold onto. Everything seems to be there now. In past games the Angels could count on timely hitting or a rally, but either their bullpen or starting pitching would be suspect at best. With everything clicking the Angels are back where they have always felt they belonged towards the top of the AL standings.
Last night the Angels continued to prove there may yet be two LA teams in the playoffs this season. Against the league leading Dodgers the Halos found themselves down 4-1 in heading into the sixth inning. The Halos struck for three runs in the sixth, and a Juan Rivera solo shot in the bottom of the eighth ensured another Halos victory after Brian Fuentes 17th save of the season. This evening the Freeway Series will take on a whole different scope with the Weaver brothers facing each other head to head. It will mark only the eighth time in MLB history that brothers have faced each other on the mound.
6:05 PM PT
Jeff Weaver (3-1, 3.72) @ Jered Weaver (7-2, 2.08)
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Written by Nich Hall