By Pete Zarustica/Garden Grove Journal
The Los Angeles Angels seem to be a little like the American economy. Just when it seems things have straightened out, a slump is hit. And just when things seem blackest, there’s a ray of light.
Stumbling through most of the week, the Halos at one point lost nine of 11 and threatened to tumble right out of the American League West pennant race completely.
Then they roused themselves, winning two of three and showing some signs of life.On Tuesday the rally continued for the Halos, defeating the Seattle Mariners behind Jered Weaver’s five-hit shutout.
The win put them at 33-36, 3.5 games begin the Texas Rangers in the AL West.
Last Wednesday the Angels’ 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays was their fifth straight. They dropped one more to Kansas City 7-5 on Friday, won on Saturday, but then got hammered 9-0 on Sunday.
It was their ninth shutout loss; they hit into five double plays and collected just three hits in the game.
“It’s hard to believe, especially because of the lineup we have,” said Bobby Abreu. “The way we’re swinging, all of the pitchers look a little tougher. I don’t want to offend anyone, but we haven’t hit the ball we’re supposed to.”
That might apply to Vernon Wells, a free agent the Angels acquired to put some pop back into the lineup. Wells has been a major disappointment for the Halos, hitting under .196 and generally making little but a negative impact on the offense, missing a month with a groin strain.
However, on Monday, he shoot it all off –for a while, anyway – with two home runs as the Angels rallied from a 4-1 deficit to post a 6-3 win.
According to Wells, the improvement came from studying video of his husky 2010 season, when he batted .271 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs.
“When you’re getting pitches middle-in and they are jamming you or getting hanging breaking balls and missing them, then something is wrong in there,” Wells said. “I just sat in the corner over here and watched video over and over again and [found] something that was different.”
“Hopefully,” he’s found his rhythm,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He had some big hits tonight obviously, and hopefully he can start squaring some balls up.”
Well, not yet. Wells was 0-for-4 during the Angels’ 4-0 win Tuesday, although he did score a run.
The Angels concluded their series with the Royals Wednesday night (results too late for our deadline). The Halos have today (Thursday) off and resume their road trip Friday by traveling to New York to take on the Mets through Sunday.
Monday through Wednesday it’ll be down to Florida to take on the Marlins.
Next Thursday (June 23) the Angels will be idle, but play the Dodgers in Los Angeles the following three days.