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Close to .500 Is OK--for Now

May 09, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

They've overachieved in some areas, underachieved in others, but considering the strength of their early schedule and the number of key injuries, the Angels seem happy to be two games under .500 after 30 games.

"We're missing our closer [Troy Percival], we started the season without our ace [Chuck Finley], now we're missing Mark Langston and Mark Gubicza, and we didn't have much depth going into the season," third baseman Dave Hollins said. "We're just trying to keep our heads above water until everyone comes back."

The Angels are still afloat, but the problem in the American League West is there are two powerboats out there that have barely revved their engines and are capable of leaving the Angels in their wake at any time.

Seattle leads the Angels by four games but is still waiting for everyone but Ken Griffey Jr. in the heart of its lineup to catch fire, and Texas is ahead of the Angels despite playing the first five weeks of the season without 1996 most valuable player Juan Gonzalez.

"The Mariners and Rangers are still the teams to beat, but until we match up with them head to head, you don't know where you stand," shortstop Gary DiSarcina said.

Of the Angels' 16 losses, only six have been by two runs or more, but of 14 wins, only five have been by two runs or more. Pitching (4.89 earned-run average) has been better than expected, but hitting (.271 batting average, last in league in homers and extra-base hits) has lapsed.

The Angels have 27 stolen bases--they had 53 for the entire season in 1996. They have committed only one error in the last seven games, but have only two homers in the last 10.

The one area we have to concentrate more on is offense," DiSarcina said.

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