Surging Angels Aim for 7th Straight Win
Most of the talk surrounding the Los Angeles Angels (39-43) during the first half of the season has been of disappoint and failure, but a recent win streak has Angels fans hopeful for a second half turnaround.
While still nine games out of first place in the American League West, the Angels have plenty of uphill climbing left to do, but the bats have been heating up during their current six-game win streak and with Jered Weaver back on the hill, there is a chance that the once intimidating rotation can return to top form down the stretch.
Weaver (1-4, 4.15 ERA) will square off against Lance Lynn (10-2, 3.52 ERA) in the first of a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals today and although Weaver hasn’t been his dominant self since returning from the DL earlier this season, he’s coming off a strong seven-inning outing against Detroit, one that saw him allow just one earned run on four hits. And considering his stellar track record in interleague games (13-4, 2.61 ERA), Weaver should feel plenty comfortable, even against the team with the second best record in the National League.
Albert Pujols – who has continued to struggle at the plate recently, seeing his average dip to .249 – should also feel comfortable in going against his former teammates. However, the past was not something he wanted to talk about on Monday.
“Let’s talk about our team,” Pujols told the Angels’ official website. “Two years passed already, so we don’t need to talk about that. … Write about how we’re playing and the series coming up, not about how I feel about St. Louis. That’s not what it’s all about.”
For Pujols, it’s about winning with his new team, however, knowing your opponent is certainly an advantage and needless to say, Pujols knows the Cardinals quite well.
Then again, Pujols has never faced Lynn and neither have many of his Angels teammates. Lynn has confounded National League batters this year – striking out 98 on the season – so Angels hitters will need to be on their toes and ready for a variety of pitches at varying speeds.
Considering the Cardinals have recently lost their spot atop the Major League standings, they’ll certainly be hungry to reclaim it, but as losers of six of their last 10 games, maybe a slump for the Red Birds is on the horizon.
Normally, I would stick with the hotter team here, but Weaver has yet to find his old groove and Lynn should be able to keep the Angels’ offense somewhat in check. With Weaver on top of his game, I would like the Angels, but either way, it should be a close pitcher’s duel and that’s why I like the Cards to cover +1.5 today.