Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia’s patience with Cameron Maybin has been rewarded with the veteran center fielder finding a home in the leadoff spot. Maybin looks to continue his hot hitting Sunday as the Angels aim for a split of their four-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals, who saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday.
Maybin homered and recorded two RBIs in Saturday’s 9-0 victory and is batting .388 with 14 extra-base hits in his last 20 games for the Angels, who embark on a daunting eight-game road trip against the New York Yankees, Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers that begins Tuesday. The 30-year-old Maybin hit .206 in April but has thrived since being moved to the top of the batting order and leads the American League with 21 stolen bases. After belting 16 homers during its six-game winning streak, Kansas City was held to two singles and struck out 12 times in Saturday’s loss. Mike Moustakas’ eight-game hitting streak came to an abrupt halt, but Lorenzo Cain stole two bases and is 14-for-32 with six homers and 11 RBIs over his last eight contests.
TV: 3:37 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Jason Vargas (9-3, 2.10 ERA) vs. Angels RH JC Ramirez (6-4, 4.19)
Vargas won his fourth consecutive start on Tuesday against San Francisco, allowing five hits while striking out six over seven frames. The Southern California native owns a 65-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio and ranks second in the majors with a 2.10 ERA, trailing only Houston’s Dallas Keuchel. Vargas owns a 6-4 record and 3.02 ERA in 16 career games (15 starts) against the Angels while holding Yunel Escobar to four hits in 22 at-bats.
Ramirez threw a season-high 111 pitches Tuesday against the New York Yankees and received a no-decision after allowing two runs over 6 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old has been a pleasant surprise for the Angels with 58 strikeouts against 16 walks in 12 starts this season. “There are so many things that are markers as to what makes a successful starting pitcher, and JC is wrapping his arms around and flying by them,” Scioscia told reporters. “He’s been a big boost to our rotation.”
1. Angels OF Mike Trout (thumb) is expected to resume swinging next week and hopes to return prior to the All-Star Game on July 11.
2. After losing 11 of their first 13 road games, the Royals have gone 13-8 in their last 21 contests away from home.
3. The Angels placed Matt Shoemaker on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right forearm and activated fellow RHP Cam Bedrosian (groin).
PREDICTION: Royals 7, Angels 3