Not so long ago, in a time back before the All-Star break, the
In this second half of the season, the roles have reversed. The Angels are enduring their worst offensive stretch of the season. Over the past eight games since the break, they have scored only 24 runs. That has put pressure on the pitching staff.
The Angels' bats have sputtered, but somehow they've managed to stay afloat with a 4-4 record since the break. On Friday, they won again, defeating the
Their lineup seemingly is too deep to allow a complete power outage, but production has declined. Since the break, the team is averaging about two fewer runs per game than normal.
"We haven't, this week after the break, attacked the ball like we can in the batter's box," Angels Manager
The Angels are built around their potent lineup. They will go as far as their bats take them. They have scored more runs than anyone in baseball except the first-place
Currently, the Angels have only two healthy reliable starters in
There was no concern in the Angels clubhouse before Friday's game. Every team goes through its dry spells at the plate. Longtime baseball writer Roger Angell, who will be honored at the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown on Saturday, once wrote, "Hitting is the hovering central mystery of this sport, and continues to invite wonder." The Angels hitters figured this was their time to be befuddled.
If that's the case, it could be worse. In this most recent stretch, every game has been decided by two runs or fewer. The Angels have weathered the storm behind timely pitching performances. They even edged out the
"The thing is, we're getting guys on base, and we've got those opportunities," said Kole Calhoun, who drove in the tying run in the sixth inning "So they'll come through. I don't think anybody in this clubhouse is worried."
Scioscia thought the Angels battled well against Detroit's
On Friday, though, the Angels looked lost for much of the game against Detroit left-hander Drew Smyly. Eight of the first 10 Angels batters struck out. Smyly set a season high in strikeouts in less than four innings. He then set a career high in the sixth with 11.
The only starter who didn't strike out by the fourth inning was
But again, timely hitting salvaged a win. Hamilton's replacement, Efren Navarro, who had only 61 at-bats previously this year, singled in the winning run with two outs in the sixth inning.
In a way, the recent cold stretch emphasizes the force of the Angels lineup, which still scores runs even when it struggles. The team has averaged three runs per game over its worst eight-game stretch of the year. On the other end of the spectrum, the dismal
"It's far too small of a sample to rewrite some things or rework some things on the offensive side," Scioscia said. "These guys get rolling, they showed that they can do in the first half, and we'll get it going again."