The Los Angeles Angels are clicking on all cylinders. Their offense ranks fourth or betting in most American League categories and the pitching staff has discredited preseason predictions, placing fifth in ERA and quality starts.
From under-the-radar pickups to longtime farmhands to breakout rookies, the Halos are winning as a team, not as a compilation of high-priced superstars.
Thursday afternoon’s 6-4 triumph over Minnesota marked the Angels’ sixth consecutive victory. It’s the fifth time in franchise history they’re reached the feat and the first time since 2004. Adding to the occasion were Jered Weaver earning his eight victory and Albert Pujols, who tied Rogers Hornsby for 30th on the all-time doubles list.
The Angels outscored opponents 35-19 on the six-game homestand with each starter-aside from Weaver last Sunday- tallying a win.
Next up is Kansas City’s whose 10-game winning streak in early June catapulted them from AL Central cellar-dwellers to division leaders. They’ve tapered off over the last week but sit 1 1/5 back of the final wild card spot.
Matt Shoemaker has yielded three runs or less in each of his outings this season. Los Angeles couldn’t ask for more from the undrafted free agent. Since his May 29 recall from Triple-A Salt Lake Shoemaker has won three out of four starts, averaging 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
Shoemaker surrendered one run on eight hits to Texas last Sunday in his first career 100-plus pitch outing. The right-hander carries a 4.57 road ERA into Kansas City, though three wins have come outside Angel Stadium. Shoemaker received a no decision against the Royals earlier this year, allowing two runs through five innings.
After compiling a 9-8 record in his sole season in Anaheim, Jason Vargas is hitting his strike with the Royals. He’s won five of his last seven decisions, allowing three runs or less in each victory.
Vargas yielded one run on three hits in his return to the Big A on May 25 and lowered his lifetime ERA to 2.56 against the Halos. He’s 5-4 in 13 career starts, dating back to 2009.
- Josh Hamilton is batting .200 with three home runs in 25 career at-bats against Vargas.
- C.J. Cron has a .411 batting average with three home runs and four RBIs since being held hitless in four straight from June 10-19.
- The Angels swept a four-game series in Kansas City last season.
TV: 5:10 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, Fox Sports Kansas City
Radio: KLAA 830, KCSP 610, Royals Radio Network