The Los Angeles Angels aren’t getting carried away after capturing a weekend series with two tight victories. They might be excited to see who is starting against them in their next series.
Los Angeles (28-27) began this six-game trip with three one-run games in Minnesota. The Angels sandwiched 6-5 victories around Saturday’s 1-0, 10-inning loss.
“We have to grow as a team,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We have a long way to go to get to where we want to be as a team, in this clubhouse and in this organization. Our club needs to get better.”
The Angels should like their chances Monday against Hochevar (3-5, 4.81 ERA), who is 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA in their matchups. Erick Aybar(notes) is 4 for 9 against him and Bobby Abreu(notes) is 4 for 12, but Hochevar will get a break in not having to face an injured Howie Kendrick(notes) (hamstring), who is 5 for 8.
Hochevar endured a poor outing Wednesday at Baltimore, allowing a season-high eight runs - all in the fourth - over seven innings of a 9-2 loss.
“There is really no excuse for it,” he said. “I am a lot better than that. That was just really bad.”
The Royals (23-29) are 5-1 in the right-hander’s home starts since he yielded four runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Angels in the season opener. Kansas City won the final three games of that series after losing 20 of its previous 25 meetings with Los Angeles.
Los Angeles got strong efforts at the plate from Alberto Callaspo(notes), Aybar and Abreu in the season-opening series. Callaspo was 6 for 12, Aybar 5 for 12 and Abreu 7 for 17, although Kendrick supplied the most power with three solo homers.
Aybar was the catalyst in Sunday’s 6-5 win over the Twins with three hits and three RBIs. The shortstop is a career .400 hitter at Kauffman Stadium, tied with the current Yankee Stadium for his best average in any ballpark.
The right-hander is 5-4 with a 4.42 ERA in 11 career starts against the Royals.
Kansas City is beginning a season-high 11-game homestand after a 1-5 road trip. The Royals blew a three-run lead and a one-run, ninth-inning advantage in Sunday’s 7-6 loss at Texas.
Joakim Soria(notes) blew his fourth save in 11 chances by allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth. He has an 8.59 ERA over his last eight appearances, but manager Ned Yost said he will remain the closer.
“The worst thing you can do in a situation like this is to start messing around with the bullpen,” Yost said. “Jak will figure it out. You know why? Because he’s a good pitcher, an All-Star caliber guy. That doesn’t happen by accident. Guys go through streaks.”