The Los Angeles Angels have proven they can win at home.
Now the AL West leaders try to show they can be just as successful on the road in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Angels (69-47) lead the division by three games over Seattle. Los Angeles has won six of its last seven and 12 of 17 since July 25, including a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins over the weekend.
Los Angeles outscored the Twins during the series 20-6, closing the set with a 6-2 win on Sunday to improve to 40-17 at home—the best mark in the majors.
The Angels are just 29-30 on the road, however, losing eight of their last 20 games. They are one of only two division leaders with a losing record along with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia thinks that the team’s 5-1 homestand bodes well for its seven-game road trip, which also includes a four-game set against the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.
“I think we did a lot of things on the field this week that are going to be important for us to take on the road,” he told the Angels’ official Web site.
One of the things Los Angeles hopes to continue on the road is its impressive hitting. The Angels are averaging 6.5 runs per game since July 25 and they are batting .307 as a team with 18 homers over those 17 games.
Chone Figgins, who hit his second homer of the season on Sunday and leads the team with a .340 batting average, is hitting .386 (17-for-44) this month.
Los Angeles will hand the ball to Joe Saunders (6-0, 3.46 ERA) to open this series. Saunders will be making his 10th start of the season, and his fifth since being called up from the minors on July 22. He has won eight straight decisions dating to last season and is 3-0 with a 4.07 ERA since his recall.
Saunders pitched 5 1-3 innings to beat the Boston Red Sox last Tuesday, allowing four runs and eight hits in a 10-4 win. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays.
Toronto (59-58) will counter with Roy Halladay (13-5, 4.17), who has won his last two starts - both at home - to improve to 9-1 with a 3.61 ERA in 12 starts at the Rogers Centre.
Halladay gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings last Wednesday against the New York Yankees in a 15-4 win.
The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA in five career home starts against the Angels.
Toronto is coming off a split of a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals following a 6-2 loss on Monday. The Blue Jays committed three errors, including two in the third inning which led to two unearned runs for the Royals.
The Blue Jays dropped 7 1/2 games behind the Yankees and Mariners for the AL wild card lead.
“This time of the year a split (of the four-game series) doesn’t do you any good where we’re sitting,” manager John Gibbons said.
The Blue Jays have won 20 of their last 31 home meetings against the Angels. The teams haven’t met this year—Toronto won six of 10 games in 2006.