After winning a series against one AL East opponent, the Los Angeles Angels begin a four-game set against one that has been much tougher for them to beat as they host the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
Los Angeles (74-52) fell 8-2 to the New York Yankees on Wednesday, missing a chance at a three-game sweep. The Angels, however, are 18-11 in the regular season against the powerful Yankees over the last three seasons.
It’s been a different story for Los Angeles in the same span against Toronto. The Blue Jays (63-63) have won 13 of 19 meetings, including two of three at home Aug. 14-16.
Garret Anderson went 1-for-3 in Wednesday’s loss for the Angels to cap a big series for the veteran. He went 7-for-14 in the three games, including his club-record 10-RBI performance in an 18-9 win on Tuesday.
Third baseman Maicer Izturis also had a productive series, going 5-for-9 with four runs to raise his home batting average to .337.
Anderson and Izturis, however, are among a host of Angels who struggled against Toronto pitching earlier this month. Anderson went 1-for-11 in that series, Izturis was 2-for-9, Vladimir Guerrero 2-for-12 and Casey Kotchman was hitless in 11 at-bats.
Third baseman Chone Figgins, who sprained his left wrist Tuesday night, did not play Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day. Figgins has scored eight runs in his last six games.
Los Angeles leads Seattle by two games in the AL West.
Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus, meanwhile, is still looking for his first hit as a visitor to Angel Stadium. Glaus, who spent his first seven seasons with the Angels, went 0-for-9 last season in five games—his first on the road against his former club.
Angels starter Ervin Santana (5-11, 5.96 ERA) seeks his first win since June 9. Santana went 0-5 with an 8.46 ERA in his next six outings before he was sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake.
The right-hander returned to the majors last Friday and pitched well, allowing one run and four hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 7-5 win at Boston. He retired the first 13 batters he faced.
“Ervin throwing the ball the way we saw is going to be very big for us, and he’s going to start next week for us,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official Web site.
Santana has pitched well at home this year, going 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA in eight outings. He’s 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in two career starts—both at home— against the Blue Jays.
Toronto is beginning a seven-game road trip after getting swept in a three-game series by Oakland. The Blue Jays scored only nine runs in the series, but manager John Gibbons was more upset about his team’s four errors in the series.
“What’s been costly lately is our defensive errors,” Gibbons said after a 4-1 loss on Wednesday. “We’ve made some great plays along the way to save some runs but it’s caught up with us a bit lately. In tight games, that’s really magnified.”
Toronto starter Jesse Litsch (4-6, 3.49) knows all about those defensive woes. The rookie has posted a 2.84 ERA in losing his last two starts, but was victimized by miscues that contributed to six unearned runs in those games.
Litsch gave up five runs—two earned—over six innings on Saturday in a 5-3 loss to Baltimore. The unearned runs were a product of two errors by Toronto.
“That was a game we could have won,” Gibbons said.
The right-hander, who has never faced Los Angeles, is 2-3 with a 2.55 ERA in six road outings.