By Pete Zarustica/Garden Grove Journal
You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to know the age-old formula for contending for a pennant in baseball. It’s simple: win at home and break-even on the road.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tore up the algebra book over the past two weeks, turning what could have been a grueling 14-game road trip into a triumphant march. The Halos won 11 of 14 contests, including a three-game sweep of the Dodgers in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.
“Winning cures everything, and we’re doing a lot of it,” said Torii Hunter, who homered in the Angels’ 6-5 win over the Dodgers Sunday. “We were actually talking about wearing our grays tomorrow (at home against Milwaukee). I don’t know if that’s illegal or what, “We want to act like we’re still on the road. I might keep my bags packed.”
Perhaps it would have been better if they had.
On Monday the Halos were back in Anaheim, and the road magic appeared to be gone, if only for a while. The Milwakuee Brewers hammered the Angels 12-2, and they added injury to insult when Erick Aybar was injured by a hard (but clean) takeout slide by Casey McGehee.
“He’s a tough kid,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia of Aybar, who suffered an hyperextended left knee. “We’re cautiously optimistic.”.
On Tuesday, the Angels fell again at home, dropping two back in the AL West race.
Dave Bush took a shutout into the eighth inning, Prince Fielder homered and Corey Hart hit a three-run double to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 7-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Bush (2-5) allowed one run and seven hits over 7 1-3 innings in his longest outing of the season. It was the right-hander’s first victory in 10 starts since winning at Pittsburgh on April 20.
Bush struck out only one, but did not walk a batter and retired 15 of 17 during one stretch. He is just 4-10 in 20 starts since June 4, 2009, when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Florida’s Hanley Ramirez and missed two months with a tear in his right triceps muscle.
Maicer Izturis, who drove in the Angels’ run with a double that chased Bush, started at shortstop for the fourth time this season and in the leadoff spot for the sixth time in place of the injured Erick Aybar.
Aybar, who left Monday night’s 12-2 loss with a hyperextended left knee after a hard takeout slide by Casey McGehee, had an MRI exam that revealed some damage. A club spokesman said his playing status will be re-evaluated on Friday.
Ervin Santana (6-5) threw 103 pitches over five innings, allowing six runs and 10 hits. He also lasted only five innings in his previous outing, a 6-1 loss at Oakland, after winning five consecutive starts.
The Angels’ series with the Brewers continued Wednesday (results too late for our deadline). Today (Thursday) the Halos have an “off” day, then travel to the Windy City for a three game series against the Chicago Cubs Friday through Sunday.
Monday is a travel day, so the Halos will start a 12-game homestand on Tuesday with three games hosting the Dodgers at Angel Stadium.
THE WEEK’S STATS: Through Mondays games, the Angels batted a respectable .276 as a team, a stat that’s even more impressive when you realize that four of those games were in National League cities where the designated hitter isn’t used.
Erick Aybar, ironically, was the week’s best batter, hitting .387 with 12 hits and two RBIs. Howie Kendrick was close behind at .385 with four RBIs and a home run.
Juan Rivera was also hot, batting .368 with two home run and four RBIs.
Among pitchers, Brian Fuentes helped lead a resurgent bullpen, yielding only one hit in two one-inning stints that resulted in saves. Scott Kazmir had just one start, but went five innings and gave up just five hits and one earned run, striking out seven and walking just one.
As a team, the pitching staff had a 5.16 ERA over that stretch.