The Angels emerged victorious in only one of the final three games of their Freeway Series-shortened homestand, but there were still far more positives than negatives to take from their weekend set against the Orioles.
A non-exhaustive list of the pros from the series: 1) Matt Shoemaker pitched the best game of his life, racking up 12 strikeouts in 7+ shutout innings; 2) Jered Weaver followed him with seven solid innings of his own, avoiding the Times Through the Order Penalty by staying away from his fastball; 3) Mike Trout stayed hot and took his rightful place as the league leader in WAR; 4) Johnny Giavotella extended his hit streak to 11 games and is now batting .349 in May; 5) Carlos Perez went 5-for-11 with three extra-base hits, raising his OPS by 123 points; 6) Deolis Guerra looked good pitching a scoreless inning of relief in his Angels debut.
The cons?: Hector Santiago; Dale Scott; Joe Smith. That’s about it. The former two are things unlikely to hamper the team going forward—unless Santiago decides he likes getting ejected—and the third will hopefully be resolved when Huston Street returns at the end of the month and/or when someone finally tells Smith to scrap his change-up.
Your mileage may vary as to whether the weekend was ultimately more bad than good, but there’s no questioning that the Angels are still playing good baseball a majority of the time lately.
The Rotation Is Stabilizing? Maybe?
If you throw Hector Santiago’s ejection-shortened appearance out the window, Angels starting pitching has now gone seven innings or more in six of their last eight starts. In the first 34 games of the season, the Halos had just three such starts. I’d call that an improvement.
The best part about it is that the rotation is spreading the wealth around. Through May 13, Santiago and Jered Weaver were the only starters to make it seven innings this season. Since then, five different guys have accomplished the feat.
Maybe Stop Putting On The Contact Play?
We’ve established that the current iteration of Angels baseball is terrible at stealing bases and goes for the extra base less often than just about any Mike Scioscia team in history, so it should be no surprise to learn that the club ran into an out at home plate on the “contact play” in each of the three games against the O’s. Two were ground balls right at Chris Davis, one a grounder at third baseman Ryan Flaherty. None was particularly close, and one came with nobody out. Can we stop doing that now? This isn’t Little League.