The Angels look to continue to take advantage of the mistake-prone Nationals and sweep consecutive road series for the first time in six years when they conclude their three-game set Wednesday.
Los Angeles (48-30) got all the offense it needed with a six-run first inning Tuesday en route to an 8-3 win over Washington (30-49). The Nationals committed a season-high four errors - two in the first inning - one day after a pair of eighth-inning errors allowed the Angels to rally for two runs and win 3-2.
Washington has been awful in the field lately, committing a major league-worst 15 errors since June 15—a span of nine games.
“You’ve got to feed off errors,” Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. “Anytime a team makes an error, you’ve got to take advantage of it. We try to go out there and take advantage of any mistakes like hyenas.”
The home-field advantage is something that has not helped teams beat Los Angeles, which owns the best record in the AL.
The Angels are a major league-best 26-12 on the road this season, and have won 10 of 11 away from home this month. They’ve outscored opponents 27-10 through five games on their nine-game road trip.
Los Angeles, which swept Philadelphia over the weekend, has not pulled off two straight three-game sweeps on the road since series at Tampa Bay and Baltimore from Sept. 3-8, 2002.
Washington, meanwhile, owns the majors’ second-worst home record at 15-25, and has dropped 11 of its last 13 at Nationals Park.
Ervin Santana (9-3, 3.17 ERA) has keyed the Angels’ success on the road and he gets the ball in the series finale.
Santana entered this season 10-21 with a 7.28 ERA in 39 career road starts, but is 6-1 with a 3.10 ERA in nine such outings in 2008. In three June starts away from Angel Stadium, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA, striking out 21 in 21 innings.
On Friday, Santana allowed two hits and an unearned run while striking out nine in seven innings of a 7-1 victory at Philadelphia.
This will be Santana’s first outing against the Nationals since June 14, 2005 - his third career start. In that game, he allowed one run and four hits with seven strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss, but did not get the decision.
The Angels could be without right fielder Vladimir Guerrero for this game after he left after two innings Tuesday with flu-like symptoms. The eight-time All-Star is batting .431 (25-for-58) with six home runs and 13 RBIs during his season-high 15-game hitting streak.
The Nationals have lost seven of eight, getting outscored 54-21.
Washington center fielder Lastings Milledge appeared to be hitting his stride a couple of weeks ago, but has been slumping since. He’s 1-for-29 (.034) with a solo homer in his last seven games after hitting .361 (13-for-36) with two home runs and five RBIs in his previous nine.
Tim Redding (6-3, 4.12) takes the hill Wednesday to make his first career start against the Angels.
Redding allowed three runs and five hits in six innings of a 4-3, 14-inning win over Texas on Friday. The Nationals have won Redding’s last eight starts, but the right-hander has earned victories in just two of them - and none since May 19.