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July 28, 2014

What You Need to Know

July 28, 2014

by Daniel Rathman


The Weekend Takeaway
When the Angels, winners of five straight to wrap up the “first half,” looked up their schedule coming out of the All-Star break, here’s what they saw:

  • Three home games against the Mariners, who were moving up the standings with 14 wins in 22 games heading into the hiatus;
  • Three home games against the first-place Orioles; and
  • Four home games against the first-place Tigers.

And, as if that homestand weren’t enough of a challenge...

  • Three road games against the first-place Orioles;
  • Three road games against the hard-charging Rays; and
  • Two road games against the first-place Dodgers, as part of a four-game home-and-home set.

Have fun with that.

All three games in the Mariners series were one-run nail-biters, but the Angels took two of three. They weren’t so lucky in the Orioles series, in which every game was decided by two or fewer runs, as the Birds left with two in hand. And the opener of the Tigers set didn’t go so well, either, as Detroit took Thursday night’s matchup by a final score of 6-4.

Just over a third of the way into the 20-game gauntlet, Mike Scioscia’s club was 3-4. Now, it’s halfway through the toughest part of its regular-season docket. And 6-4 looks a whole lot better than that.

The Angels held the Tigers to just two runs over the last three games of the series. They got 5 2/3 innings of one-run work from Tyler Skaggs on Friday and 3 1/3 nearly flawless frames from the bullpen, as newcomer Huston Street converted the save. On Saturday, they got seven outstanding innings from Matt Shoemaker—who’s risen from undrafted free agent to back-of-the-rotation fixture—followed by two goose eggs from the relief corps, including one from another new arrival, Jason Grilli. Hector Santiago only got through 5 1/3 one-run innings on Sunday, but with the bullpen relatively well-rested and a travel day on tap, Scioscia asked for and received 3 2/3 fine frames from Mike Morin, Joe Smith, and Street.

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