Three left-handed pitchers in a row might have been an issue for the
So far, 2014 is a different story. After going 1-1 against two left-handers on Wednesday and Thursday, the Angels faced
No problem, even after starter
The winning run was scored on a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning from
The Angels have now won 19 of their last 22 games at home.
"No doubt, we are doing better statistically against lefties," Angels Manager
This season, the Angels are hitting .278 against left-handers, which is tied for best in the American League. But save for third baseman
Consider: Left fielder
On Friday, he had two hits and scored a run against Keuchel.
Albert Pujols hit just .213 last year against left-handers. This season, he's up to .257, and went three for four with a home run and three runs scored Friday.
Chris Iannetta platoons with
"Some of it is cyclical, the sample size smaller because we don't face as many left-handers," Scioscia said. "I think it's gonna vacillate a little bit, but in the big picture, our lineup, even with guys out, has had a certain depth to it that has helped us and it's showed up versus left-handed pitchers."
But the biggest difference this season might be from the usual leadoff batters, right fielders
Calhoun has been on one of the hottest streaks in baseball recently, hitting .351 in his last 29 games. Since June 17, he leads the majors with 16 runs scored. He's been solid against left-handers (hitting .256), but he hasn't started in the Angels' last three games.
The reason? The Angels have another right fielder, Colin Cowgill, who has been better than solid.
Cowgill is hitting .308 against left-handers, and because of pitching matchups, has been rewarded with three starts in the last three days despite Calhoun's hot streak. After Keuchel was removed for a right-handed reliever after five innings on Friday, Cowgill also left the game in favor of Calhoun, making it clear that he would continue to be the go-to leadoff batter against left-handers for the time being.
"We're putting lineups out there that we think are going to pressure the opposing pitcher," Scioscia said. "I think Collin, against left-handed pitching especially, has a stronger on-base and has a little bit of pop in his bat and has shown the ability to be a table-setter in the past few games."
Last season, it would have been a luxury to have an outfielder other than Trout hit well against left-handers. This year, with Hamilton picking up and Cowgill playing well, one outfielder doing fine against lefties is getting squeezed out of playing time.
Could be worse.
"Would I like to play every day?" Calhoun said. "Yeah. Would he like to play every day? Yeah. But we have a really good team. What a problem to have, right?"