The Los Angeles Angels have won two games in a row after splitting a four game series with the Chicago White Sox at home. Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Sox is precisely what GM Jerry DiPoto had envisioned in the offseason – a powerful offense producing six runs in support of Jason Vargas who threw seven scoreless innings for his third win of the season. One impressive note: Vargas has successfully lowered his ERA from 6.75 in mid-April to 3.55 today. The southern California native has refused to give up in the face of early season adversity. The club is hoping to return to form once a number of key players return from the DL – most notably ace Jared Weaver and center fielder Peter Bourjos (who led the team in batting average before injuring his hamstring). And that doesn’t include closer Ryan Madson who can add further depth to a notoriously unreliable “Blowpen.”
Unfortunately, the Angels have failed to make up ground in their division despite adding a few W’s to the win column. The Halos are now 17-27 (.386) and 12 games back of the division leading Texas Rangers. Not even a red-hot Miguel Cabrera and his ridiculous five RBI’s (on three home runs) could derail the Rangers on Sunday night in Arlington. Texas will need to cool off during the summer months if the Angels hope to make up any significant ground in the standings.
A new week provides a familiar opponent as the Angels start a two game series against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The third place Mariners have posted a 20-25 record having lost their last four against manager Terry Francona and his AL Central leading Cleveland Indians.
Game One: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 7:05 PST, Angel Stadium of Anaeim. Aaron Harang is scheduled to take the mound for the Seattle Mariners. Harang was scratched from his Thursday start against the Yankees after complaining of lower back stiffness. He now appears ready to go after a recent bullpen session. Good news for the Angels – Harang is 1-4 with a 7.35 ERA and has yet to find a groove since being traded to Seattle from the Colorado Rockies.
The Angels are scheduled to start Jerome Williams who is 2-1 (3.05 ERA) and coming off a strong performance against the White Sox. Williams had another impressive performance, allowing only two runs in six innings but was pulled by manager Mike Scioscia in a head-scratching move after throwing just 74 pitches. Williams didn’t appear fatigued and implied as much in a post-game interview.
Game Two: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7:05 p.m., Angel Stadium of Anahiem. Two local boys duel it out as lefty C.J. Wilson (3-3, 3.72) will take the mound against RHP Brandon Maurer (2-5, 5.75 ERA). C.J.’s last two losses against the White Sox are not indicative of his incredible pitching performance – he simply had the unenviable position of going up against Chris Sale (who managed to one-hit and three-hit the Angels in his last two starts). I can only imagine that Wilson is looking forward to facing this Seattle lineup with a different opposing pitcher on the mound.