By Pete Zarustica
In the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of professional sports, if a coach or manager wins he’s a genius; if he loses he’s an idiot. For the first half of the 2016 baseball season, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scicocia was – by that reckoning – not exactly murdering his SATs.
But now, after six wins following the All-Star break and a stretch of 10 victories in 12 games, he’s looking more like Albert Einstein. It’s all relative.
The Angels added to Scioscia’s academic credentials with a 7-4 win over the Texas Rangers Wednesday, sweeping the series with the American League West leaders and moving into fourth place all alone. Now a much-more respectable 43-52 overall, they are the hottest team in baseball.
Starting in the first inning with Jefry Marte’s three-run home run, the Angels built a 4-0 lead early and hung on for the win.
“We’re getting contributions from a lot of guys,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Our lineup is getting deeper. You see Jefry Marte get a big hit for us. I think our baserunning has been better, our situational hitting has been really good and our on-base percentage for the last month has been terrific.”
Not-quite-terrific was starter Hector Santiago who worked five three-run, five hits innings. It was enough, however to improve his record to 8-4, best on the team. The bullpen was good enough to limit the Rangers to five hits and one run the rest of the way.
Four Angels – Yunel Escobar, Albert Pujols, Andrelton Simmons and Todd Cunningham – had two hits. Marte had three RBIs and Escobar two. The Halos are hitting well enough to raise their team average to near the bottom of the league into seventh place at .267.
The Angels have Thursday off, and then start a six-game road trip starting on Friday in Houston.