(Sports Network) - Having closed the gap between themselves and the American
League West-leading Texas Rangers, the LA Angels of Anaheim take aim at a
three-game interleague sweep of the Colorado Rockies this afternoon when the
teams collide at Coors Field.
The Angels have won three of their last four games and are now just three
games behind front-running Texas for the top spot in the division after
pummeling Colorado on Saturday, 11-5. The 11-run outburst represents the
highest scoring effort of the season thus far for a team that, on paper at
least, should be dominating the division and the league.
Albert Pujols continued his warming trend yesterday as he belted his ninth
home run of the season, driving in four runs and scoring twice for the
visitors. Mike Trout and Torii Hunter both had three hits and scored three
times, while Howie Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo contributed three hits apiece
as well, the latter adding a pair of walks to his stat line.
Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren lasted 5 1/3 innings, permitting four runs
on 10 hits, four of those being solo home runs. In his previous four outings
Haren didn't have a single batter go deep and dating back to April 22 (nine
games) he had allowed a total of just three home runs.
Jeff Francis was dealt the loss as he gave up eight runs on 10 hits in a mere
3 1/3 innings for the Rockies.
Tyler Colvin had three hits for the hosts, including a pair of home runs,
while Chris Nelson, Marco Scutaro and Carlos Gonzalez added long balls as
Suffering through a dismal season so far, LA hurler Ervin Santana tries to
work his way into the win column for the first time in nearly a month when he
takes the hill this afternoon. The right-hander last tasted victory on May 15
when the Angels topped Oakland in a 4-0 final. The win was the second in as
many games for Santana, but after that he failed to earn a decision in his
next three appearances and then was dealt a loss on Monday by Seattle.
In the meeting with the Mariners, Santana was dreadful to put it kindly. Not
only did Seattle batters generate eight hits in just 4 2/3 innings, they also
worked six bases-on-balls and struck out just once, leading to seven earned
runs and the seventh loss in nine decisions for Santana.
On a positive note, in two career appearances against Colorado, Santana is 1-0
with a 3.29 ERA but that still doesn't make up for the fact that he is one of
the league leaders in home runs allowed with 16.
Countering for the Rockies is rookie Christian Friedrich, who already has
twice as many wins this season than Santana. The left-hander has won three
consecutive outings, the most recent of those coming on Monday when he worked
his way through seven shutout innings, permitting four hits and handing out a
pair of walks while striking out four in a 4-0 win over Arizona on the road.
Outside of his loss to Seattle on May 19, when he was touched for eight runs
on nine hits and four walks, Friedrich has issued no more than just two bases-
on-balls in any one outing.
Obviously home runs are a big part of the game when playing at Coors Field,
but that still doesn't completely explain why Colorado's pitching staff has
been so dismal all season. Few clubs have been beaten up as badly as the
Rockies, to the point where they have the highest team ERA in baseball (5.24),
have logged the fewest quality starts (17) and have allowed the highest
batting average against (.295) now through 58 games.
From an offensive standpoint the Rockies are trying to balance the scales with
the fourth-most runs scored (293) and the fifth-highest slugging percentage
With Pujols slowly warming up and hopefully returning to form, the Angels find
themselves in the middle of the pack when it comes to hitting with a
collective .258 average, while their slugging is at .396 (16th in the majors).
The Sports Network