Angels look to continue winning formula at home

Vernon Wells is surging and so are the Angels. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Angels may have finally hit their winning stride with a dominant home sweep of the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals entered the series riding the hottest streak in baseball. Washington had won 13 of its previous 15 games and looked to give the Halos a reality check in Anaheim.

The reality is a little more pleasant than anticipated.

The Angels proceeded to sweep the Nationals and continue a hot streak of their own. Since beginning its road trip to the four corners of the country on June 13, Los Angeles has won 11 of its last 15 and has yet to lose a series.

The Nationals were no pushovers, of course. The first game took a gutsy walk off single, the second became a laugher only after seven and a half tense innings, and Wednesday’s game was decided only by a run scored on a double-play ball.

The win characterized a tough Angel team capable of running on all cylinders. Lately, it seems that when the Halos have struggled to score, the pitching has shut down the opposing team, and when the pitchers can’t hold it down, the offense has exploded.

The offense, of course, owes much of its success to the hot bats of Mark Trumbo and Vernon Wells. Trumbo’s great stretch of hitting doesn’t come as a surprise; he has performed consistently well all season. But Wells is experiencing a rebirth at the plate.

Wells has batted .288 with 17 hits and six home runs since June 13. The rest of his stat line over that stretch is wacky, to say the least: one double, zero triples, and zero walks. In fact, his double against Washington on June 28 was his first non-home-run, extra-base hit since April 19. Wells’s aggressive approach to the plate is always frustrating. But for now, it’s paying off.

The worry near the end of the long road trip was that the Angels would fail to bring their winning groove home, where they are 18-20. They will remain at home until after the All-Star break, so the current homestand will be as good a time as any to see if that holds true. With only three interleague games left to play, though, the Angels have to find a way to keep their winning formula going against the American League.

Until that time comes, though, the Angels have a shot at fine-tuning their play a little more against the troubled Dodgers to end their interleague schedule. Mike Scioscia’s philosophy of taking it one game at a time will serve the Angels as they try to pull ahead in the West.

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