Pittsburgh (31-43) at Los Angeles (48-27)

Fair Currently: Anaheim, CA
Temp: 83° F
  • Game info: 3:35 pm EDT Sun Jun 24, 2007
  • TV: FSPI, KCOP
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Angels have been the hottest team in the league for more than a month despite the struggles of former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon.

Colon tries to round back into form and lead the Angels to a sweep over the Pittsburgh Pirates as they conclude their three-game series on Sunday.

Los Angeles (48-27) is a major-league best 24-9 since May 18, but Colon has gone just 1-3 with a 9.79 ERA in five starts in that span.

Colon (6-3, 6.17 ERA), a two-time All-Star and the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner, opened the season 5-0 with a 3.69 ERA in his first six starts, but has allowed six or more runs in three of his last five.

On Tuesday, the right-hander was tagged for seven runs, 11 hits and three walks in six innings of a 9-5 loss to Houston.

“It’s a concern. We’ve got to figure out a way where we can work through this thing and get him back on track,” Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said. “Bart’s not the same guy he was five years ago, but his stuff is still good. He’s still moving the fastball around, in and out, and the two-seamer’s still a good pitch for him.

“He just has to execute his pitches, work ahead in the count and change speeds. But he’s putting himself in counts where he’s throwing fastballs, and they’re sitting on the fastball and getting pretty good swings at him.”

Colon has been hit particularly hard at home lately. He opened the season 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his first three starts at Angel Stadium, but has yielded 16 runs in 12 1-3 innings in losing his last two there.

He hasn’t faced Pittsburgh (31-43) since June 17, 2004, when he allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 5-2 loss. That was the first time Colon, who had thrown 17 shutout innings in winning his first two starts against Pittsburgh, gave up a run to the Pirates.

The Angels beat Pittsburgh 10-1 on Saturday, and by taking the first two games of this set, they’ve won nine consecutive series and 13 of the last 14.

Center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. went 2-for-2, but was removed in the third inning with tightness in his left hamstring after legging out an infield single.

“Just running down the line, it felt a little tight—but it didn’t pull or grab or anything,” said Matthews, who is hitting .286 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs in 73 games. “They yanked me, but I could have finished it out. It feels OK right now. I want to go out and play.”

The Pirates have dropped four straight, and have not lost five in a row since May 19-24.

They only had five hits on Saturday, and have been outscored 25-5 during their skid.

“(The Angels are) very good at what they do—taking the extra base and getting the clutch hits. We’re definitely not doing that right now, and it’s definitely a tough thing to take,” shortstop Jack Wilson said.

Tom Gorzelanny (7-4, 3.01) looks to win consecutive starts for the first time in two months when he takes the hill on Sunday.

Gorzelanny gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 5-3 win over Seattle on Tuesday for his first victory since beating San Diego on May 29.

The left-hander leads the Pirates in victories, but has been unable to win back-to-back starts since April 17 and 22.

Gorzelanny is 1-1 with a 4.87 ERA in three interleague starts this season, and this will be his first career start against Los Angeles.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Gorzelanny Mil vs. B. Colón NYM
14-10 Record 6-8
3.88 ERA 6.34
135 K 76
68 BB 29
1.40 WHIP 1.62

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jun 24