The cruelest month comes to an end Wednesday. The
That counts as progress in Anaheim, where the home team has punted the season because of a poor April in each of the last two seasons. On the last day of the month, the Angels have a .500 record, and they are 31/2 games out of first place in the
"Is it better than last year?" second baseman
The answer would have to be yes. The Angels beat the
The bottom line can be found in the records, and in the standings. The Angels last year ended April with a 9-17 record, and they were eight games out of first place. In 2012, they ended April with an 8-15 record, nine games out of first.
They're not crowing now, not at 13-13. The Angels are in search of their first playoff berth since 2009, but they have taken the first step toward the more immediate goal — a September that matters. You cannot win a pennant in April, but you can all but lose one.
"In the long run, if you don't come out decent, it hurts you in the end," Kendrick said. "The rest of the season, it comes down to the last month. You've got to set the table, obviously, before you get there."
The Angels might not have won every game, but they are in just about all of them, thanks to a solid offense and effective starting pitching.
The offense was expected. The Angels have averaged 5.4 runs per game, up from 4.3 last April and 3.5 in April 2012.
The starting pitching was not. The earned-run average among the Angels' starters is 3.58, down from 5.26 last April and 4.20 in April 2012.
Even with starters
The bullpen is still a work in progress. However, the Angels have given up only six unearned runs in 26 games.
"We're still within striking distance," catcher
"The biggest difference I really see compared to the previous seasons, knock on wood, is that we haven't been playing sloppy baseball. We've had a chance to win just about every single game."
"We're still finding our identity as a team," Wilson said. "We're still fighting through injuries, the whole leadoff hitter thing, the loss of Hamilton. Our starting pitching has been better than it was this time last year. Our bullpen has been taking shape."
"Nobody in here should be satisfied with what we've done," Wilson said. "There is no satisfaction until the end of the season, anyway."