The Los Angeles Angels are approaching a critical stretch of games against the AL West leaders. Manager Mike Scioscia’s club still has work to do in Toronto before it can worry about that.
Starting Monday in Anaheim, the second-place Angels (65-55) will play four straight and seven of 12 against Texas, which ended Los Angeles’ three-year run atop the division in 2010, and currently holds a three-game lead.
Before that happens, the Angels will try to bounce back from Saturday’s 11-2 defeat. Making his first start following a six-game suspension, Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver(notes) was tagged for a season-high three homers and a career high-tying eight runs.
“We’ll turn the page on it and get started again (Sunday),” Scioscia said.
Haren (12-6, 2.91 ERA) is 6-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his last 10 starts after throwing 6 2-3 innings of four-run ball in Tuesday’s 6-4 road win over the New York Yankees.
The right-hander is 3-0 in four career starts at Rogers Centre - all with Oakland - thanks to generous run support and despite posting a 7.20 ERA in those outings. He also pitched an inning out of the bullpen at home against Toronto (60-59) on April 9, setting down the Blue Jays in order to earn a 6-5, 14-inning victory in his first relief appearance since 2004, when he pitched for St. Louis.
He’ll now face a Blue Jays team that’s among the majors’ best with 77 home runs at home after Edwin Encarnacion(notes), Adam Lind(notes) (grand slam), and Mark Teahen(notes) went deep Saturday. It was Lind’s 100th career homer.
“The way I’d been feeling I honestly thought it would never happen,” said Lind, who had been 9 for 59 in the 14 games since his previous long ball. “I just got a pitch, was aggressive with it, and hit a granny.”
Bautista and Colby Rasmus(notes) will likely return to the lineup after getting Saturday off. Bautista is 3 for 8 with a homer off Haren, while Rasmus has three hits - including a home run - in 13 at-bats against the right-hander.
The left-hander has given up three runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, but has an 0-1 record in his last two. All seven runs he’s surrendered in his last three outings have come off home runs.
“One or two pitches seemed to beat me these last two starts,” Cecil told the Blue Jays’ official website after allowing three runs and a pair of homers in seven innings of Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Oakland.
Cecil gave up a solo shot to Howie Kendrick(notes) in the April 9 meeting with the Angels, when he was tagged for five runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings. He is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three career starts versus Los Angeles.
Encarnacion is batting .410 (16 for 39) with three homers and eight RBIs during a season-best 12-game hitting streak. He is 5 for 12 with two home runs off Haren.
Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo(notes), who hit a solo homer Saturday, is 7 for 17 in the first five games of his club’s road trip. Los Angeles needs a win Sunday to salvage a split of the six-game swing.