The Los Angeles Angels finally broke out of a frustrating offensive slump— but they still have a losing streak to deal with.
The Angels will be trying to snap their longest skid in over a year on Monday when they open a four-game home series with the Chicago White Sox.
Los Angeles (22-17) lost 8-5 to Tampa Bay on Sunday, wrapping up a three-game sweep. The Angels have lost four in a row for the first time since a six-game slide April 12-18 last season.
“They have a lot of good things going, and I think we saw it firsthand,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official team Web site of the Rays. “But our philosophy doesn’t change. … (We’ve) got to regroup, look for some of these answers in-house and move forward.”
The bright spot on Sunday was the re-awakening of Los Angeles’ bats. The Angels were shut out in the first two games of the series, but snapped a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings with three runs in the third inning.
However, reliever Justin Speier gave up three runs in the sixth inning, taking his second loss in three days and spoiling Ervin Santana’s bid to become the AL’s first seven-game winner. The Angels’ Joe Saunders also missed out on his seventh win Saturday, taking the 2-0 loss.
“Put these two loses, Friday and today, on me. I just haven’t made my pitches like I normally could,” said Speier, who has yielded five homers in 15 innings this season.
The Angels will be trying to rebound against a White Sox team that had scored 18 runs during a three-game winning streak before falling 6-3 in Seattle on Sunday. However, Chicago (18-18) knows all about hitting slumps - the White Sox managed only nine runs during a six-game losing streak that ended last Monday, but have scored 29 runs in the six games since.
White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who spent his last three seasons with the Angels, went 4-for-5 on Sunday, matching a career high for hits. This will be his first game against his former club.
Chicago starter Mark Buehrle (1-4, 5.31 ERA), who is 0-4 with a 4.54 ERA over his last five starts, will be trying to end his slump.
Buehrle’s frustration boiled over in a 13-1 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. After he yielded a season-worst seven runs in 5 2-3 innings, the normally mild-mannered lefty slammed one of Juan Uribe’s bats against a dugout heater and the ground.
“It was frustrating, and I let it show today,” Buehrle said.
Buehrle has received just six runs of support during his losing streak, including none in his last two starts.
He is 1-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 career appearances - 14 starts - against the Angels. The win came on Aug. 8, 2001, but he is winless in 11 starts since then.
The Angels will counter with Nick Adenhart (0-0, 11.37), who is making his third major league start since being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on May 1. The right-hander gave up three runs in 4 1-3 innings in a 5-3 win at Kansas City on Tuesday - a big improvement over his big league debut five days earlier, when he was pounded for five runs in two-plus innings against Oakland.
“He’s still feeling for some things. He’s not settled in yet,” Scioscia said. “But it was definitely a start in the right direction.”
Chicago won five of nine games against Los Angeles last season, and has won nine of the last 12 meetings in Anaheim.