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Angels are well within their rights in latest victory, 6-2 over White Sox

Much has gone wrong so far, yet they're doing a lot of little things well, enough to build the fourth-best record in the American League and lead the AL West by two games.

May 10, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels starter Joel Pineiro delivers a pitch during the Angels' 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
Angels starter Joel Pineiro delivers a pitch during the Angels' 6-2… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

Their highest-paid player (Vernon Wells) is batting .183 with three home runs and 13 runs batted in and is now on the disabled list. Their cleanup batter (Torii Hunter) is hitting .241 with four homers and 16 RBIs.

They've struck out a league-high 289 times, rank eighth with a .242 average with runners in scoring position, and their best hitter (Kendrys Morales) has been out since last May 29 because of a broken left ankle and might not return until the All-Star break

Yet somehow the Angels, after Tuesday night's 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox, have the fourth-best record (21-16) in the American League and a two-game lead over Oakland and Texas in the division.

"A lot of different things are going on, but we're doing a good job, we're holding it down," Hunter said. "We're executing, playing good defense, and we're grinding. We're coming through with some big hits late, fighting teams, going extra innings."

So much has gone wrong for the Angels, but plenty has gone right, much of it on display in Angel Stadium on Tuesday night.

Start with starting pitching. Joel Pineiro allowed two runs and eight hits in 72/3 strong innings and struck out five, including sluggers Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko after a leadoff double in the fourth and Konerko with a runner on second to end the sixth.

The rotation, led by Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, has posted 25 quality starts in 37 games and compiled a 3.17 earned-run average, second-best in the league.

The bullpen came through, with Fernando Rodney getting Konerko to ground out with two on to end the eighth and Scott Downs throwing a one-two-three ninth. Relievers have stranded 32 of 38 inherited runners and compiled a 3.26 ERA.

"With the guys that are struggling and out of the lineup, it's easy to look at our pitching and just marvel at what they've done, from the rotation to the bullpen," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's kept us above water."

The offense is making some waves, too. The Angels don't measure up to the Yankees, Red Sox or Rangers on paper, but they actually lead the league with a .271 average and have been productive in enough spots to offset their soft middle.

Howie Kendrick had two doubles, an RBI and a run Tuesday and ranks second in the league in hits (48), third in runs (27), first in multihit games (18) and ninth in average (.322).

Infielder Maicer Izturis, moved to the No. 3 spot last week, singled during the Angels' three-run first and hit a solo homer, his third of the season, in the third. He's batting .333.

Third baseman Alberto Callaspo capped the first-inning rally with a two-out, two-run single and followed Kendrick's third-inning double with a two-out RBI single, lifting his average to .296.

No. 2 hitter Bobby Abreu, who had two hits, is batting .272 but has a .393 on-base percentage, thanks to his 26 walks.

First baseman Mark Trumbo, who had a single in two at-bats, is tied for the team lead with six homers and leads the team with 17 RBIs. The White Sox thought so much of the rookie, or so little of .186-hitting catcher Jeff Mathis, that they intentionally walked Trumbo twice to pitch to Mathis.

Leadoff batter Erick Aybar had one hit but is batting a robust .344, and speedy No.9 hitter Peter Bourjos, despite going hitless, is batting .291 with six doubles, four triples and 18 runs.

"We're still not full-tilt on the offensive side," Scioscia said, "but I think we're going to find some continuity."

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