If not peaking too soon is part of the master plan for the
Remember last season, when the Angels played their best ball from mid-August to mid-September, winning 25 of 31 games and clinching the
As September nears this season, there is no edge to lose. The
The Angels have lost 23 of 35 games to fall 61/2 games behind Houston in the American League West and 21/2 games behind Texas for the second wild-card spot, and their playoff hopes are slipping away.
"We're going through a rough stretch," the normally reliable Smith said after the worst outing of his nine-year career. "We know every game matters. It's getting down to crunch time."
The score was tied, 3-3, when Smith, the sidearm-throwing right-hander, took over for
He got stronger after a 38-minute rain delay in the third, retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, and the Angels scored three runs off 2014 AL
But Smith lost an eight-pitch battle with
"Nothing was working," Smith said. "I tried to throw a sinker in to Gomes. I missed middle-middle. If you don't throw the ball where you want to, the guy with the bat is going to do some damage."
Guys with bats aren't doing enough damage for the Angels, who rank last in the AL this month in average (.217), runs per game (2.9), hitting with runners in scoring position (.181), on-base percentage (.279) and slugging (.340).
And 2014 AL most valuable player Mike Trout is mired in a month-long slump, hitting .194 with one homer in August.
"To be honest with you, if Mike was doing his normal stuff, it still might not be enough right now," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Not one guy is going to carry us. We need to reestablish our depth in our lineup. Some of that will happen when get guys healthy again, and that's what we're looking forward to."
Jered Weaver (6-9, 4.59 ERA) will oppose Cleveland right-hander