April 7-13: Angels Shake Off Opening Week Jitters

By Jose Serrano

April 13, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) is congratulated by first baseman Raul Ibanez (28) after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the New York Mets at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 6-6 (1-0 vs. Astros, 1-1 vs. Mariners, 2-1 vs. Mets last week)

Highlights: After a less-than-stellar opening series, the Angels hit the road and took 3-of-4 from Houston before splitting a two-game series with the Seattle Mariners. The Halos have won four of six games since last Monday, easing some concerns over their uninspiring 0-3 start.

Despite Josh Hamilton’s absence, the Angels lead the American League in home runs (20), and place second in runs (67) and RBIs (64). Sunday’s 14-run game was the second time scoring in double digits this season, the first being in an 11-1 win over Houston.

Lowlights: With a .816 OPS, getting runners on isn’t a problem for the Angels. Driving them home, however, is another story. Highlighted by last Friday’s 5-4 victory over the Mets, the team went 1-for-8 with RISP and left 17 men on base. Had Jeurys Familia not beaned Hank Conger with the bases loaded, the lack of clutch hitting could have set the tone for the weekend.

Player of the week: C.J. Wilson limited Astros batters to one earned run on four hits last Monday. He followed that with yesterday’s solid outing against the New York Mets, allowing two runs on six scattered hits. Wilson leads the team in strikeouts (24), innings pitched (20.2), and pitches per start (116.7). All signs point to a workhorse carrying the starting staff while Jered Weaver and Hector Santiago search for their groove.

Injury report: Hamilton was name American League co-Player of the Week heading into last week’s series in Seattle. And just like that, he’s gone. Hamilton slid into first base on a routine grounder and tore a muscle in his left thumb sidelining him for 6-8 weeks. The left fielder was batting .333 with two runs and eight RBIs in 11 games.

Reliever Sean Burnett suffered another setback in coming back from offseason elbow surgery. He was shut down after feeling discomfort while pitching in extended spring training games last Saturday and Wednesday and hasn’t tossed since. Burnett was limited to 13 appearances last season, his first in Anaheim.  

Up next: The defending AL West champion Oakland A’s come to town for a three-game series that begins tonight. Oakland won 11 of 19 meeting last season. The Halos then head to Detroit where they narrowly avoid Justin Verlander.