Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 6/26/12
The Angels really couldn't have hoped for much more than the result they got Tuesday night in Baltimore. Their 7-3 victory over the Orioles came at the start of a three-city, nine-game trip against thee contending teams. Considering their just-completed 6-3 home stand and 23-8 record since April 28, expectations are understandably high. The most impressive aspect of their win: offense. The Angels have been winning largely because of their starting pitching and bullpen, with just enough hitting thrown in to keep the offense moving forward. But their outburst against Baltimore was reason for optimism. They had a season-high 17 hits and a season-high four home runs, one each from Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos and John Hester. That's a good sign for a team that figured to be strong offensively but too often has been shut down. The Angels have been shut out an American League-high nine times and been held to three runs or fewer 34 times. Monday was a good start for a team that is 12-1 in its past 13 road games. Now, here are three questions that are worth addressing: 1. Can Peter Bourjos expect more playing time now that he's hit two home runs in two games? Probably not. Bourjos has been a good solider since being squeeze out of the Angels outfield following the arrival of rookie Mike Trout. He has quietly accepted his bench status, although he came off a successful rookie season (.271, 12 home runs, 22 stolen bases) and is a Gold Glove center fielder in the making. The Angels have resisted offers to trade him, most likely because he fits into their long-term plans. Think of an outfield of Trout, Bourjos and Mark Trumbo next season. In the meantime, Bourjos will have to be happy with an occasional start. 2. How good is Mark Trumbo? Very, very good. Only two players in the AL rank in the top 10 in the three Triple Crown categories: Trumbo and the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton. That's pretty heady company, but Trumbo is simply paying off on the expectations he established last season (29 homers, 87 RBIs). His home run to the deepest part of Camden Yards on Monday night was impressive, but most of his home runs are. He's a perfect fit for the Home Run Derby in the All-Star Game, but a better choice would be to put him on the AL team. 3. Has CJ Wilson been the Angels' best pitcher this season? It seems like it. Wilson won his team-high ninth game of the season and held the Orioles to one run in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.36, second in the league. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and left runners on third base in the third and fourth, but he gave the bullpen a 5-1 cushion that held up well. His work, plus an offense that muscled up, could set the tone for a profitable trip. Best pitcher? He's close, but we still give the nod to Jered Weaver, who appears healthy after returning from a lower-back strain.
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