With only 3 games left to go in Interleague play, the Angels are wishing it didn’t have to end so soon.
The Halos hold the MLB’s top Interleague mark at 11-4 against the National League, and are a game below .500 at 27-28 against all other American League teams.
Interleague play started off with the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Freeway Series at Chavez Ravine back in late May. The Halos would take 2 of 3 from the Blue Crew before playing 9 of their next 15 games on the road against American League teams.
Over that 15 game stretch, the Halos would sputter by going 6-9. They would take 2 of 3 at Toronto, their only series win over this 15-game span, but drop 2 of 3 to both the White Sox and Mariners at home as well as 2 of 3 to the Tigers and Rays, each on the road.
Then Interleague play came back, just in the knick of time for Mike Scioscia’s club who now sat at an even .500 with a record of 29-29.
Scioscia would give his players a tongue-lashing following their enormous 11-1 loss in the final game of a 3-game set in Tampa Bay.
Pitching had been awful (John Lackey had 9 ER in that 11-1 in loss), and all pitchers, starters and relievers alike, were just in a funk of walking batters with ease.
Hitting had been sporadic at times, but was just poor altogether to be brutally honest.
The Angels headed back to the friendly confines of the Big A, hoping that some home cooking would do the trick to get them out of the funk that they had been mired in for about half a month.
That would be just the case.
Or maybe it was just because the Padres are just plain bad.
Either way, the Halos would sweep the Padres in a 3-game set which the Angels outscored San Diego 26-7.
Game 1 featured home runs from Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales, while also pushing Matt Palmer’s season record to a surprising 6-0.
Torii Hunter would record his 1st career 3 home run game in game 2 which the Angels would win 9-1 backed by a solid effort from starter Joe Saunders. Saunders would throw 8 1/3 dazzling innings of 1-run ball, while striking out 5 Padres hitters.
Game 3 would be all Jered Weaver, who would throw his first career shutout in a 6-0 win for the Halos, moving his record to 7-2, and lowering his ERA to an incredible 2.08.
The Angels would then travel up to the Bay Area for a 3-game series with the San Francisco Giants. The Halos were coming in hot, hitting an uncharacteristic 9 home runs in their series with San Diego.
The Angels would pick up where they left off, blasting 6 home runs in the first 2 games, winning both contests 9-7 and 8-1 respectively.
The Giants would throw out 2008 NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum for the final game of the series, and he was tough as nails on the hot Halo offense through the first 7 innings. But the Angels, entering the 8th inning trailing 3-1, would tax Lincecum for 3 runs in the half-inning, and would end up closing out the game by a score of 4-3, securing themselves of their 2nd consecutive sweep of an NL West opponent.
The Angels would come back to Anaheim riding a 6-game winning streak thanks to their all-of-a-sudden hot offense, and were set to take on the Dodgers at home.
The Halos would win game 1 5-4, a game that I was fortunate enough to be at. Over the years, this Angels/Dodgers rivalry has begun to grow more intense, and on that night of game 1 of the Freeway Series in Anaheim, the Big A was electric with fan energy.
Before the first pitch was even thrown, all you could hear were fans chanting, “Let’s go Angels!” and “Let’s go Dodgers!” The crowd was into it from the first pitch, all the way until the final out in the 9th recorded by Brian Fuentes. The general dislike between the two teams was tangible, and that made the atmosphere of this game one of the best that I’ve ever been a part of (and that includes Adam Kennedy’s 3-homer game against Minnesota in the 2002 ALCS as well as World Series Game 1).
The cross-town Dodgers would break the Angels’ season-long 7-game winning streak and nail down the final 2 games against the Angels including the incredibly hyped-up “Battle of the Brothers” featuring Jeff Weaver of the Dodgers and Jered Weaver of the Angels. Jeff would get the better of his younger brother en route to a 6-4 win, and Clayton Kershaw would throw 7 spectacular innings of shutout ball in game 3, resulting in a 5-3 Dodger victory.
The Angels took 2 of 3 from the visiting red-hot Colorado Rockies (who had entered the series winning a remarkable 16 of their past 17 games). The Rockies killed the Angels 11-1 game 1, but the Angels rallied to win 4-3 in game 2, and would whoop the Rockies in the finale by an 11-3 final.
The Angels have now gone 9-3 in their last 12 games, all against NL competition.
The Halos travel to the Valley of the Sun next to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks for a 3-game series (hopefully they’ll close the roof at Chase Field considering temperatures are forecasted to be 100+ for all 3 days), hoping to build on their overall Interleague success.
The Angels are now in a tie for 1st place for the first time since the early goings of the season. Go Halos!