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Angels hoping July heats up offense

Angels hoping July heats up offense

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ANAHEIM -- Even though the Angels and A's preach contrasting hitting strategies, they both have issued similar results this season.

The Angels are more aggressive on offense while still preaching the qualities of small ball, while the A's are much more prone to working the count and getting on base via a walk, as they have the third most bases on balls in the American League.

Both strategies have paid off in years past, as the two teams have combined for the previous six American League West titles. This season, though, both offenses have been struggling, and yet, the Angels are in first place and the A's are right on their tail in second.

The reason for both teams' success is easy to explain, however, as pitching has carried both clubs. Oakland's 3.42 ERA is the second-lowest in the Majors and Los Angeles isn't too far behind with a 3.80 ERA, which is the seventh-best mark.

The month of June says it all for both teams. The Halo's 3.31 ERA in the month was the lowest mark in baseball and Oakland's 3.33 ERA was the second-best. But both teams also had horrid hitting totals in the month as the A's had the worst batting average in baseball at .245 and the Angels had the second-worst at .256.

Both teams are hoping that July will bring the same pitching results, but much better hitting results. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said it's difficult to cure a team's batting woes because every hitter gets out of a slump differently.

"There are some hitters that need to start to see more pitches and work some counts, but there are guys that are more productive seeing that fastball and squaring it up," Scioscia said. "There are different solutions to each hitter and that's what you're working for. There's no pill you give to the whole team and have them all of sudden get into your offense."

Scioscia also reiterated that the Angels' solution to their problems can be fixed internally and that finding external solutions, via trade for instance, won't be necessary.

"We can absolutely win with the group of guys we have on this team," Scioscia said. "If our offense performs the way it has the past 50 games, it's going to be a challenge. We have all the confidence that it's not going to be that kind of offense the second half of the season."

Pitching matchup
LAA: RHP Ervin Santana (9-3, 3.32 ERA)
Santana struggled with his control in a 5-4 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday, walking five. One walk was intentional, but another came unintended and with the bases loaded. In total, Santana gave up four runs over six innings, but picked up a no-decision when the Nationals won on a walk-off single in the ninth.

OAK: RHP Rich Harden (5-0, 2.15 ERA)
Harden tossed one of his best outings of the season in his last start against Philadelphia, throwing four innings of no-hit ball before giving up one of just two hits without allowing a run in eight innings. He walked only one while striking out a career-high 11. In his first start against the Angels this year on June 8, Harden gave up three runs on six hits through six innings.

Tidbits
Right-hander Kelvim Escobar pitched three innings on Monday in his first rehab start with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, striking out four. He threw 39 pitches, 26 of which were strikes. He is scheduled to increase his pitch count to 60 in his next start. ... Outfielder Garret Anderson celebrated his 36th birthday on Monday but wasn't in the starting lineup. ... Right-hander Dustin Moseley, who began the season with the Angels as the team's fifth starter before being placed on the disabled list on May 4, pitched seven strong innings on Sunday for Triple-A Salt Lake. He allowed two earned runs on six hits and struck out seven to improve his record to 4-4.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN

On radio
• KLAA 830, KWKW 1330 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Angels (Joe Saunders, 11-4, 3.06) vs. Athletics (Dana Eveland, 6-5, 3.34), 12:35 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Angels (Jered Weaver, 7-8, 4.30) vs. Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, 8-7, 4.74), 6:05 p.m. PT

Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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