Angels are poised for a strong second half
Outfielders Torii Hunter and Mark Trumbo believe the club, which is 42-24 since April 28, has what it takes to challenge Texas for the American League West title. Torii Hunter has peaked at the schedule coming out of the All-Star break, a grueling 23-game stretch with 13 games — 10 of them on the road — against the division-leading New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox, and seven against Detroit and Tampa Bay, clubs with winning records.
Around the Horn: All-Star snubs
Albert Pujols, Austin Jackson and Johnny Cueto are among the players who deserved, but didn't get, a trip to Kansas City for the All-Star game. Angels closer Ernesto Frieri was beaten out by Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish in Major League Baseball's Final Vote campaign, actually placing last in the five-pitcher voting that took place despite providing his team 24 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 saves since arriving by trade from the San Diego Padres on May 3. Frieri has struck out 42 batters in the process, which clearly makes him among those snubbed from Tuesday's All-Star game in Kansas City. Times staff writer Lance Pugmire assesses the others who have legitimate beefs with not being invited to the United States' barbecue capital. (Statistics through Friday.)
Angels are improving but offense remains a concern
They win two of three games in series with American League West-leading Texas, but several regulars are struggling at the plate. Pitcher Dan Haren said the Angels have no reason to "hang their heads" after Sunday's 7-3 loss to Texas. The bigger picture, after all, looks bright for the Angels, who have won 10 of 12 games to cut the Rangers' American League West lead from eight to 41/2 games.
Dodgers' starting rotation is a startling second-best in majors
The Times rankings: The Nationals have the best team ERA in the league; the Angels come in at No. 8. C.J. Wilson was the ace of the Texas Rangers' pitching staff last season. When the Angels signed Wilson and slotted him into the No. 4 spot of their starting rotation behind Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, the debate raged as to whether the Angels might have a better rotation than the Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers let Hiroki Kuroda go because they could not afford him. They signed Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, assembling a rotation perceived as Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and four innings-eaters in Capuano, Harang, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly. Yet, the Dodgers boasted the best record in the majors through Friday's games, primarily for two reasons; Matt Kemp and the starting rotation. The Angels' rotation has been solid, second-best in the hitter-heavy American League, as ranked by earned-run average. But the Dodgers' rotation has been spectacular, second-best ...
Angels' right fielder Josh Hamilton finds his swing again
The former Rangers slugger hits a double and two singles in Sunday's game after being only one for 20 going into the game at Texas.