The Los Angeles Angels are making a hard push to the top of the standings, or at least back to relevancy after winning nine of their past 11 games to get into within three games .500.
This current hot streak, which we have all heard about their streaks before, just seems to be different as they are coming from behind
to win games and are showing resilience along the way. Another big difference this current streak has is that it has not only been the pitching that has carried the Angels but Josh Hamilton is beginning to do some real damage. Hamilton is currently rising an 11-game hitting streak and has been nothing but clutch in the past 11 games, coming up big when the Angels need him the most.
With the Angels trailing by four runs in the ninth inning of Saturday’s night game versus the Boston Red Sox, Albert Pujols came through first with a two-out two-run bases loaded single to center field to cut the deficit to two runs before Hamilton came through with an RBI single to right field to cut the lead to one. The Angels then tied things at 7-7 with a Red Sox error before heading into extra innings.
In extra innings is where Hamilton shined once more. With one out, Brad Hawpe, who came in for Albert Pujols in the ninth inning, singled with one out in the 11th against Craig Breslow to bring Hamilton up to bat. Hamilton drove the next fastball on the inside part of the plate to right-center for his 12th homer and second dramatic blast in three nights and raising his batting average to .229.
Three nights ago, on the Fourth of July, Hamilton brought the fireworks to Angel Stadium as the Angels rallied once again to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5. The Angels used a three-run ninth inning to edge out the Cardinals and take the three-game series with the help of Hamilton’s power.
Down by two runs, Pujols got things started in the bottom of the ninth with a leadoff single against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright, the National League pitcher of the month for June. Pujols was 1-for-11 in his first series against his former team. Manager Mike Matheny then brought in Mujica, who had converted 21 of 21 save opportunities this season. Hamilton came to bat and drove the right-hander’s second pitch into the center-field trees for his 11th homer of the season.
It may be that what has triggered Hamilton’s resurgence is that he might be using chewing tobacco again, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Mike DiGiovanna. It was well chronicled last year that Hamilton had a hard time quitting this habit and once he did, his numbers seem to tail off. Well, he was off of it to begin the season as well and we all have seen how miserable he has been at the plate but now he is starting to heat up. DiGiovanna reported that he witnessed Hamilton remove what appeared to be a wad of chewing tobacco from his mouth after a workout Tuesday.
It might be pure coincidence, it may not, but whatever it is, the fact is that Hamilton is beginning to heat up and go on one of his hot streaks that he was well-known for to go on in his Texas Rangers days. He is beginning to look like the slugger who the Angels paid big money for this past offseason. During his 11-game hitting streak, Hamilton is hitting .375 with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs.
With the All-Star break coming up, the Angels have a great chance of at least hitting the .500 mark. Hamilton might be that driving force to put the Angels back in contention and put them into the postseason.