By Pete Zarustica
Garden Grove Journal
With wire service reports
Pray for plastic.
Looking at an unexpectedly tough first quarter of the 2010 baseball season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are having trouble finding many bright spots to build on as summer approaches.
The Halos may have a losing record on the road, during both day and night games and in interleague play, but there is one small ray (pardon the pun) of light. The Angels are 3-0 in games played on artificial surfaces.
Since that only covers three teams – Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Toronto – it’s probably not going to be enough to propel them back into the American League West race. After Monday’s disappointing 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals the Angels were 21-26, five games in back of the Texas Rangers in the ALW.
Over the past week, the Angels took two from the Chicago White Sox, then lost two of three to the Cardinals to conclude a road trip with a 3-4 mark.
A six-game homestand started Monday and will conclude Sunday.
On Tuesday the Halos snapped their two-game losing streak with an 8-3 victory over the Blue Jays. Ervin Santana pitched a complete game for the Angels, supported by a seventh inning home run by Mike Napoli and a key RBI double by Erick Aybar. The Halos remained five back at 22-26.
The series concluded Wednesday (results too late for our deadline) and today (Thursday) is an off-day; the series with the Seattle Mariners runs Friday through Sunday. Monday through Wednesday will see the Halos in Kansas City to face the Royals.
Monday’s game was a disappointment of the worst kind. The Angels were shutout for the first time all season; they were the last major league team to get blanked this year.
“It’s hard to shut us out,” said Joe Saunders, who gave up three earned runs in six and a third innings. “We’ve got guys who can do everything – hit the ball out of the ballpark, steal bases, bunt for base hits and move runners. But what can you do?”
Well, they could have gotten more than the three hits they managed against Brett Cecil.
Statistically, the Angels had another feeble week at the plate, batting only .233.
To be fair, the average was influenced by fact the Angels played three games in St. Louis, where they couldn’t use the DH. As you might guess, none of the Halo hurlers managed a hit in the series.
The lineup was topped by Kendry Morales, who hit .385 with one homer and six RBIs. Mike Napoli also brought his bat, hitting .350 and slamming three home runs, with seven RBIs.
On the other hand, Juan Rivera batted .190 and Hideki Matsui was at .188. At least that topped Howie Kendrick with four hits in 32 at-bats (.125) and no RBIs.