Angels hope to catch fire against NL pitchers: A fan’s breakdown

The Los Angeles Angels embark on a 12-game road trip that will feature nine games against the National League.

They begin their road trip against their AL West rivals, the Seattle Mariners. The Angels must break out of their abysmal hitting slump on this road trip and their winning record against the National League is a good sign as the Angels prepare to play in interleague following their three-game set with the Mariners.

The Angels miss Kendrys Morales.
photo by: UCinternational wikimedia commons

The Angels are 2-8 in their last 10 games and their homestand was one of the worst in club history, with a record of 2-7. The Angels managed one win against the New York Yankees and one against the Kansas City Royals during their homestand. The Angels were swept at Angels Stadium by the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Angels will also be glad not to see the Kansas City Royals anytime soon. The Angels are 3-7 against the Royals in their last 10 meetings and they cannot solve the Royals' hitters or their pitchers. This road trip is critical for the Angels to build their confidence. They must find a groove and involve their hitters to take some pressure off their pitchers.

Although hitting and hitting with runners in scoring position is a problem for the Angels, it is the pitching staff that is beginning to buckle under the stress of the low-scoring games. The Royals chased Tyler Chatwood(notes) in his last game June 12 after he surrendered five runs in less than four innings of work. Joel Pineiro(notes) gave up four earned runs in five innings and Ervin Santana(notes) gave up four earned runs in seven innings.

The Angels' road trip begins in Seattle on Monday June 13 before their interleague schedule begins in New York City as they face the Mets on Friday, June 17. The Angels can catch the Mariners in the AL West standings with a sweep in Seattle but it is not looking good for the unraveling team.

The Angels have the edge in the pitching match-ups for their series against the Mariners. Dan Haren(notes) (5-4) takes the mound in the series opener June 13 against Jason Vargas(notes) (4-3). On June 14, Angels ace Jered Weaver(notes) (7-4) will face Seattle's Doug Fister(notes) (3-7), and on June 15 Ervin Santana (3-6) takes on the Mariners' Erik Bedard(notes) (3-4) in the series finale.

The Angels' pitchers must receive support from their batters on this road trip. Vernon Wells(notes) and Howie Kendrick(notes) have had enough time to acclimate themselves since returning to the lineup. Torii Hunter(notes) is another Angels hitter that cannot get it together with runners in scoring position. He has hit into 18 double plays, more than any hitter in Major League Baseball this season.

*Todd Jacobs is an Anaheim native and a long time Los Angeles Angels fan.

Sources:

Yahoo! Sports Los Angeles Angels statistics and schedule

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Updated Monday, Jun 13, 2011