ANAHEIM -- Maybe the Angels are finally starting to find their footing, if three games in April can serve as any sort of barometer.They completed a sweep of the reigning World Series champions on Wednesday night, winning three in a row against a Royals team that arrived at Angel Stadium
ANAHEIM -- Maybe the Angels are finally starting to find their footing, if three games in April can serve as any sort of barometer.
They completed a sweep of the reigning World Series champions on Wednesday night, winning three in a row against a Royals team that arrived at Angel Stadium with 12 wins in their first 18 games. And the offense that struggled through the season's first three weeks finally started to awaken, stringing together 19 runs on seven homers over a 24-inning stretch.
"We've played good," Angels setup man Joe Smith said after Wednesday's 4-2 win. "But I don't think it's our best. Not yet. Not yet. Wait 'til the big boy gets real hot. Then it'll be our best baseball."
Smith was referring to Mike Trout, who extended his hitting streak to a modest eight games by taking an 0-2, chest-high fastball from Chris Young and sending it a projected 437 feet to straightaway center field in Wednesday's fourth inning.
But he could've also been talking about Albert Pujols, who homered three times on Sunday and Monday and has lined out five times over the last four games.
Or Yunel Escobar, whose solo home run in Wednesday's sixth inning proved to be the game-winner. Or Andrelton Simmons, who came up with his first home run as an Angel in the seventh. Or Johnny Giavotella, who finally produced with a three-hit game on Tuesday. Or C.J. Cron, the slumping first baseman who reached base four times that same night.
"We're putting together good at-bats, and that's important," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his offense, which entered this series with the second-lowest OPS in the Major Leagues. "Our starters are getting us to a certain point in the game, the guys in our bullpen are making pitches, holding leads. But I think the biggest turnaround - in this series, anyway - is on the offensive side. The quality of our at-bats has really jumped up. Guys are starting to really drive the ball; we're hitting with runners in scoring position."
The Angels' rotation is without Andrew Heaney, C.J. Wilson and Tyler Skaggs, three lefties who still have a long way to go in their respective recoveries. And on Wednesday, the bullpen temporarily lost its closer, Huston Street, to a strained left oblique.
But the pitching staff has carried on, compiling a 3.46 ERA that ranks seventh in the Major Leagues. And the offense, a unit that puts the ball in play more frequently than any other team, may be starting to catch up. The Angels used six runs on eight hits and five walks to win on Monday, scored a season-high nine runs on 14 hits on Tuesday and relied on a trio of home runs on Wednesday.
They're back at .500 now, sitting at 11-11 heading into a six-game road trip through Arlington and Milwaukee, and they believe they should be better.
"A season is very long," Pujols said in Spanish. "Anything can happen. We have a tremendous team. What we did last night, when we click, you're going to see a lot of that. You're going to see a lot of that. Our pitching has given us a chance. We're staying in the game the whole time. I believe if our offense would've clicked the way it has the last four or five games, we could've easily won at least five more games."
Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.