After going 2-4 away from Anaheim in the first week of the season, the Angels all realize they've got to get rolling before they fall into the same type of hole that doomed them last season.
Los Angeles plays the AL's final home opener Tuesday night against the AL West champion Oakland Athletics . The Angels began the season by dropping two of three to 2012 playoff teams in each of their first two series, and they could use a few quick wins to create some good feelings around a team that spent nearly every week of last season playing catch-up."We've got high expectations, and we've got to get off to a good start," said Mike Trout , who went 7 for 28 with eight strikeouts in the Angels' opening week. "The rough start last year hurt us."
Indeed, the Angels have the same record they posted in the first week of last season. That start dragged into a 6-14 slump before the Angels recalled Trout from the minors, leaving Los Angeles in a hole it never escaped despite being one of the majors' best teams for the rest of the year, even winning more games than eventual AL champion Detroit.
The April slump played a large role in keeping the Angels out of the playoffs for the third straight season, the longest stretch in manager Mike Scioscia 's 14-year tenure."I think we've made improvements, (but) we had a really good team last year as well," said Mark Trumbo , who batted .280 with five RBIs in the first week. "The goal is to make the playoffs. Obviously, we didn't get there last year, but we've been over it a million times before. Our start really put us in a deep hole, and we never were able to get out of it."
The whole opening week wasn't pretty. New $125 million outfielder Josh Hamilton went 4 for 25 with 10 strikeouts while enduring vociferous boos from his former fans in Texas. The Angels scored more than four runs in just one of their six games, going 5 for 45 with runners in scoring position.
What's more, ace Jered Weaver is expected to miss at least four weeks with a fractured left elbow suffered Sunday.
Left-hander C.J. Wilson will start for the Angels on Tuesday night, facing Oakland's Jarrod Parker . The A's won the West last year with a fraction of the Angels' payroll, and Oakland is out to a 5-2 start this season.
Hamilton got off to a slow opening week with his new club, managing just one hit in the first five games before a three-hit effort Sunday amid constant boos. He still hasn't homered after hitting a career-high 43 last year for Texas - but this club has a little experience in waiting for a high-priced slugger to get his first homer as a Halo.
Albert Pujols already hit his first two homers of this season Saturday, but the $240 million first baseman didn't hit his first homer of his first season with the Angels until May 6 last year. His tepid start was just one factor in Los Angeles' early stumbles, and the Angels are trying to keep the 33-year-old healthy for a long season, using him at designated hitter for two games last weekend."Albert had a great year last year, regardless of April," outfielder Peter Bourjos said. "Last year took us a while to jell, and that's why we got off to the slow start."
Wilson (0-0, 5.45 ERA) will be making his second start after allowing four runs and five hits while walking four over six innings in Los Angeles' 5-4 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. He is 6-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 12 starts against Oakland.
Parker (0-1, 7.20) was roughed up by Seattle in his season debut last Tuesday, allowing four runs and five hits over five innings in a 7-1 loss.
The right-hander pitched well against the Angels in 2012, posting a 2.60 ERA in four starts but going only 1-2. Los Angeles shortstop Erick Aybar is 5 for 8 when facing Parker.
Shortstop Jed Lowrie is off to a fast start in his first season with Oakland. He's 13 for 26 with three homers and four doubles, and center fielder Coco Crisp also has homered three times for the A's.
|April 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sprained right wrist|
|March 27, 2013||Hiroyuki Nakajima||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 26, 2013||Adam Rosales||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|March 23, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 14, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|February 14, 2013||Grant Balfour||Day-to-Day||Right knee surgery - out 4-6 weeks|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|April 07, 2013||Jered Weaver||Day-to-Day||Strained left elbow|
|March 22, 2013||Andrew Taylor||15-Day DL||Left labrum tear|
|March 22, 2013||Ryan Madson||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics had more than their share of comeback road victories en route to a surprising AL West title last season, and they picked up yet another to spoil the Angels' home debut.
Pinch-hitter John Jaso had a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning, and the A's blew a four-run lead before rallying to beat Los Angeles 9-5 on Tuesday night in the majors' final home opener.
Brandon Moss had three hits and drove in four runs, delivering an early two-run single before adding a two-run homer after Jaso's shot. Coco Crisp also hit his fourth homer for the A's, who have won six straight after an 0-2 start.
"That's part of who we are," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We feel like we always have a chance to come back, so we keep grinding through the whole thing, and sometimes we have a chance."
Oakland led 4-0 early, but fell behind on Howie Kendrick 's RBI triple in the sixth. After the A's put two runners on in the seventh against Kevin Jepsen (0-1), Jaso's drive landed on top of the chest-high fence down the right-field line, skipping into the seats for his first homer. Two batters later, Jepsen yielded Moss' first homer.
"It was just a crazy game right out of the gates," Jaso said. "It seemed like every inning was a get-out-of-a-jam inning. ... It was a wall-scraper, right there on the shortest part of the fence. I didn't think it was going to get out, but it got out."
Josh Hamilton went 0 for 4 with a sacrifice fly in his home debut for the big-budget Angels, who dropped to 2-5. Kendrick had three hits and capped Los Angeles' three-run rally in the sixth with his triple off Ryan Cook (1-0).
Albert Pujols reached base four times for the Angels, whose first homestand already was off to a rocky start before C.J. Wilson's mediocre outing and the bullpen's struggles: Staff ace Jered Weaver was ruled out for at least a month with a broken left (non-throwing) elbow Tuesday morning.
The hard-throwing Jepsen had two outs, but couldn't finish off Jaso.
"It was in the middle of the plate, and obviously it wasn't supposed to be in the middle," Jepsen said. "His bread and butter is hitting fastballs, and in situations like that, sometimes you get burned."
Hamilton was greeted in right field by fans holding up "Hamiltown" signs for his first game at Angel Stadium since he left the Texas Rangers last winter to sign with their AL West rivals.
The $125 million slugger struck out on three pitches with the bases loaded in his first plate appearance and grounded weakly back to the mound with the bases loaded again in the fourth. But Hamilton also made a diving catch in right field in the fifth inning before tying the game with his sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Wilson is the Angels' highest-profile starter in Weaver's absence, but the left-hander allowed six hits and four runs over six innings, getting through a 43-pitch first inning before leaving with a lead.
"You're always going out there pitching to win and trying to pitch a shutout, regardless of whether everybody's pitching good or pitching bad," Wilson said. "We're all just super-competitive people within ourselves. I was determined to have a better start than I did (last week) in Cincinnati, and it turned out to be the same result."
Mark Trumbo had an early RBI single in his third straight multihit game, but he also grounded out twice with the bases loaded for the Angels, who had 13 hits and stranded 13 runners.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar had two singles before leaving in the third inning with a bruised left heel after stretching to reach first base while beating out an infield hit.
Josh Reddick sat out for the A's after spraining his right wrist while crashing into a wall in Houston last weekend. Second baseman Scott Sizemore then left in the fourth after spraining his left knee while chasing Mike Trout 's short outfield fly.
Sizemore is headed back to the Bay Area on Wednesday for an MRI exam on his surgically repaired knee.
"Hopefully, it won't be anything too serious, but right now I don't know," Sizemore said, his leg immobilized. "Scar tissue is probably the best-case scenario with what I felt."
Jarrod Parker had his second straight rough start for the A's, yielding nine hits and three walks while failing to get out of the fourth inning.
NOTES: Oakland made three errors in its first seven games before committing two more in the sixth inning. ... Los Angeles' third-inning rally could have been even bigger, but Pujols made a huge baserunning blunder on Hamilton's flyout to center, running several steps past second base and failing to get back to first before Oakland easily doubled him off. ... Los Angeles recalled RHP Dane De La Rosa to take Weaver's roster spot, and he made his Angels debut with a scoreless ninth inning.