For the first time since a June 28-30 set against the Chicago White Sox, the Los Angeles Angels have won a series. This time, it comes against the Kansas City Royals in a three-gamer at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City. Using elite pitching, the Angels mustered two shutouts on the young arms of Jose Suarez and Janson Junk.
Prior to the start of the Royals series, the Angels were 3-14 in the month of July. Now — in a stark improvement — they are 3-3 since the All-Star Break and have shown that a new plate approach has led to immediate results with two games of over five runs.
Before they head home for their final series ahead of the trade deadline, let’s take a look at what went right against the Royals and how the Angels can capitalize on this success moving forward.
Game 1: Royals def. Angels 7-0
It was an ugly start to the series when the Royals absolutely clobbered the Angels bullpen. Noah Syndergaard got the start in the opener, and had himself a quality outing with 5.2 innings pitched and only one run allowed on six hits and two walks.
But on the other side, Zack Greinke and the Royals bullpen came to play. The veteran starter Greinke gave up just three hits and a walk — but no runs — in five innings pitched. From there, the bullpen — featuring Amir Garrett and Scott Barlow — allowed a total of two hits and a walk over four innings.
Going back to the Angels side, the bullpen combo of Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, and Austin Warren allowed four earned runs on five hits and three walks. Their defense did them no favors though, as one error allowed two runs to score in the seventh inning.
What was a very close game for two-thirds of the evening wound up as a lopsided victory in favor of the Royals.
Game 2: Angels def. Royals 6-0
Suarez was the man on the mound for the Halos in the important second game of the series. After losing the opener, a win in Game 2 was necessary if the Angels wanted to go home on a high note. Suarez delivered, pitching 5.1 innings of shutout baseball, allowing three hits and a walk in the process.
The defense cleaned up as well, as Suarez managed just three strikeouts in his 16 recorded outs. The Royals offense couldn’t muster anything the entire game, leading to the Angels first shutout win since June 23, against the same Royals.
Meanwhile, the Angels offense was humming against the Royals pitchers. Shohei Ohtani kicked things off in the third inning with a home run. From there, a wild pitch, hit by pitch, a Luis Rengifo RBI double, and a home run from Max Stassi accounted for the other five runs in a 6-0 Halos victory.
Game 3: Angels def. Royals 4-0
Junk was brought back up from Triple-A to take the rubber match in this three-game set. And after some difficult outings earlier this season, he finally brought home his first career win. He did it in electrifying fashion too, posting five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts.
Things were deadlocked at zero until the fifth inning, when Phil Gosselin delivered an RBI triple and Brandon Marsh followed with a single to bring Gosselin home. From there, L.A.’s two-run lead became four when an Andrew Velazquez infield single and a Shohei Ohtani single brought in two more runs.
The Angels bullpen combo of Andrew Wantz, Loup, Tepera, and Raisel Iglesias was strong as well, pitching four scoreless innings and giving up just three hits and zero walks in the process.