With a wild 12-game road trip that will see the team extend to both coasts on the horizon, the LA Angels try to close out their current nine-game homestand on a positive note as they finish up a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals this afternoon at Angels Stadium.
Up until yesterday the Angels had been in a free-fall, dropping six straight decisions and eight of the last nine before securing a 7-5 victory versus KC in order to stop the bleeding. Howie Kendrick went 3-for-4 with two RBI, including a run-scoring single in the seventh inning, to lift the Angels to the much-needed win.
Erick Aybar drove in three runs for Los Angeles, a team that had failed to score more than three runs in any of their previous nine games. LA starter Joel Pineiro, who is stuck on 99 wins for his career, permitted five runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Scott Downs pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win, his fourth in six decisions on the season.
Mike Moustakas hit his first-career homer for the Royals, who had a brief two- game winning streak snapped. Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera and Matt Treanor each drove in a run for a club that is fourth in the American League Central standings and now 7 1/2 games out of contention. What's worse is that the Royals can't seem to get it going on the road so far this year with a mere seven victories in 24 chances.
Felipe Paulino remained winless on the young season, allowing five runs -- two earned -- on seven hits over five full frames. Tim Collins gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings and was tagged with the loss.
Taking the mound for the Royals this afternoon is right-hander Vin Mazzaro, who is aiming to post his first win of 2011 in the process. Mazzaro owns a career record of 1-2 with a 5.92 ERA versus Los Angeles and has appeared in just three games so far this season. He has been rocked in the last two which has pushed his ERA to an astronomical 17.47.
Mazzaro last pitched on Tuesday when he and the Royals lost to Toronto by a score of 8-5 at home. The 24-year-old made it through five innings, allowing six runs on eight hits, while striking out three in the losing effort.
Countering for the Angels this time around is right-hander Tyler Chatwood, gunning for his fourth win of the season. Chatwood, who has yet to record a decision against Kansas City in his rookie year, surrendered nine hits for the second time this season, resulting in four earned runs over seven innings in a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday.
The Angels, who avoided their first seven-game home losing streak since April 3-13, 2002 by picking up the win on Saturday, are lucky to be just four games under .500 at the moment and a mere five games out of contention in the AL West given their recent struggles.
Kansas City still maintains a 6-3 edge in the season series between the teams, but in the previous three campaigns LA has dominated the Royals with 19 wins in 25 opportunities.
Over the last six games the Angels have had a severe power failure with just a single home run, coming from Mark Trumbo, who is batting a mere .158 during that stretch. Aybar and Bobby Abreu have both plated four in the last week, but still the former is batting just .200 during the term.