By Pete Zarustica/Garden Grove Journal
When prognosticators try to predict a forthcoming baseball season, they almost invariably rely on last year’s statistics. That’s flawed of course, since players rarely post identical numbers. Some get better and some flatline.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are giving the early lie to pre-season guesses which had them third in the four-team American League West. After a 1-3 start , the Halos have ridden good pitching and timely hitting to move into contention.
Last week the Halos took two of three from the Cleveland Indians, breaking the Tribe’s eight-game winning streak all to heck. That was followed by a three-game sweep of a good White Sox team in Chicago that put them at 10-5, good for a tie for first in the ALW with last year’s champs, the Texas Rangers.
The Angels’ five-game winning streak came to an ugly halt Monday with a 7-1 loss to the Rangers in Arlington.
On Tuesday the Halos came roaring back, hammering the Rangers 15-4 to hand them their first home loss of the season and tying up the AL West lead again.
Rookie first baseman Mark Trumbo homered and drove in four runs with three hits. Matt Palmer gave up just one run in six innings
The series concluded Wednesday night (results too late for our deadlines). Today (Thursday) the Angels start a seven-game homestand in Anaheim, beginning with three against the Boston Red Sox, though Sunday. On Monday through Wednesday, the Halos will host the Oakland Athletics.
Regardless of the outcome of the Texas series, the Angels are looking stronger than most people anticipated. Dan Haren and Jered Weaver are giving the locals a powerful one-two pitching punch, posting a combined record of 8-0 to start.
Some new faces are providing unexpected punch at the plate, too. Alberto Callaspo is batting .321 and Hank Conger is at .286 with two homers. Leading the hit parade are veterans Torii Hunter (10 RBIs), Howie Kendrick (.392, five home runs) and Maicer Izturis (.391, seven RBIs).