The Angels left Sunday for their last extended trip of the season, a weeklong, three-city jaunt that will see them play seven games against three of the four winningest teams in the American League.
But despite the fact the first four games are against teams the Angels are likely to face should they make the postseason and the last three are against the team chasing them in the division race, Manager Mike Scioscia insisted the Angels will take them all one at a time.
"The best way to get through a schedule is definitely don't look behind you as far as the games that have gone on. And don't look past today's game," Scioscia said.
"That approach gets you through tough games in a schedule."
The trip begins with the makeup of a rained-out game against the New York Yankees before the team continues to Boston for three and Texas for three more, part of a grind that, barring a postponement, will see the Angels close the season by playing 50 games in 52 days.
"We know we've got a big task ahead of us," outfielder Torii Hunter said. "It's going to be a tough stretch. We've just got to battle.
"That's all you can do. It's going to be a tough, tough road trip."
Playing the field
Maicer Izturis has been a jack of all trades for the Angels, playing six positions and batting everywhere in the lineup as least once in his career. As far as picking a favorite position, though -- well, Izturis will just go with whatever one gets him in the lineup.
"I don't have any preference," he said in Spanish. "In any case, it's out of my control."
That versatility -- plus a .395 on-base percentage over the last month -- has helped keep him in the lineup often enough to set career highs in several categories, including runs (67), hits (105) and RBIs (59). And he's just four games and five at-bats shy of lifetime bests in those departments while batting .302, 30 points above his career average.
"He's a natural shortstop. But he's adapted to second base very well and he's very good at third base," Scioscia said of Izturis, who doubled and scored a run in the first inning, then singled in another in the third in Sunday's win. "He's good at all three. The fact that he's moved around more is not a utility role. It's more of a versatility role.
"He's getting a lot of playing time for us at a lot of different positions, and he's played very well."
Getting in the game
It wasn't the way Chris Pettit dreamed it would happen. Who, after all, dreams of making their big league debut as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of a 6-1 game?
But that's exactly how the former San Dimas High and Loyola Marymount standout entered his first big league game on Friday, taking over at first for Vladimir Guerrero.
"Any way to get in there is good," he said.
And with family and friends watching, Pettit made the most of his opportunity, coming around to score the final run in a 7-1 Angels win.
"It was something I worked so hard for. I got my name in the books," he said. "Hopefully, there's many more to come."
That appears likely. A 19th-round pick in the 2006 draft, Pettit has hit at least .300 in four of his five minor league stops, batting a team-high .321 at triple-A Salt Lake this summer.
Although the Angels managed just five hits Sunday, they still lead the majors with a .287 team average and remain on pace to break the franchise record for the second time in three seasons. The Angels are also on pace to score 897 runs, which would shatter the 30-year-old franchise record of 866 . . . Bobby Abreu's first-inning sacrifice fly gave him four RBIs in his last six games, all coming on outs.