Angels-Blue Jays Preview


Strong production at the plate is partly why the Los Angeles Angels have dominated the Toronto Blue Jays of late, and that's especially true on the road.

The Angels look to record their longest winning streak ever in Toronto on Saturday as the Blue Jays try to bounce back from their first loss in six games.

Los Angeles (17-17) has won eight of nine meetings with the Blue Jays, batting .318 with 15 homers while averaging 6.9 runs. Raul Ibanez helped continue that success as his sacrifice fly in the ninth inning score the go-ahead run in Friday's 4-3 win in the opener of this four-game set.

Six of the Angels' nine hits went for extra bases as they matched their longest winning streak in Toronto, set in 1983-84 - when the Jays played at Exhibition Stadium.

Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 4.54 ERA) will try to keep that run going, but he'll likely need to be much better than he was Sunday against Texas. The left-hander gave up six runs, eight hits and three walks while lasting a career-low 2 2-3 innings in a 14-3 loss.

Skaggs, who has a 1.20 ERA in two road outings in 2014, completed at least seven innings in four of his first five starts.

"The two-seamer, the angle he had when he was going well, it didn't appear ... at times maybe but not consistently," manager Mike Scioscia told the team's official website. "He's been pitching very well for us. He'll be better next time. He'll reload."

While Skaggs is facing the Blue Jays (18-18) for the first time, Erick Aybar has a .359 average over his last nine games in Toronto. He went 3 for 5 with two doubles and a triple Friday.

The Jays, meanwhile, were held to seven hits after batting .307 with 13 homers while averaging 7.6 runs during a season-high five-game winning streak.

Jose Reyes was a bright spot in the series opener, going 3 for 4 with a double and a homer while scoring twice. He came in hitting just .179.

Reyes will try to spark Toronto's offense again for J.A. Happ (1-0, 1.93), who is getting another chance to prove he's worthy of a regular spot in the rotation.

The left-hander certainly stated his case in what was expected to be a spot start Monday after making his first three appearances out of the bullpen. He allowed three hits and four walks in five innings while being limited to 80 pitches in a 3-0 win at Philadelphia.

"I am happy to be in there now," Happ told the team's official website. "I'm trying to take advantage of the time now. Of course, I would have liked to be in there at the beginning. Before spring started, I felt great and then had a little issue with the back, and I feel good now. Happy to be where I'm at."

That probably wasn't the case in his only career meeting with the Angels on Sept. 12, when he gave up runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-3 defeat.

Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie has missed four straight games with tightness in his right hamstring, but could return Saturday. He was 14 for 30 over his previous seven before suffering the injury in Happ's start Monday.