Angels’ Hit Milestone – Can They Keep it Going?

On April 11, 1961, the Los Angeles Angels played their first-ever major league game, with opening day starter Eli Grba pitching a complete game, as the club defeated the Baltimore Orioles and Milt Pappas by a score of 7-2. They lost their second ever game, and thus began their existence with at .500 with a record of 1-1. They then lost their next game, for a 1-2 record. Since that time, they have played 8,541 more games, and today, after their 5-2 win last night over the Toronto Blue Jays, for the first time since splitting their first two games, the franchise is back to .500, having now won 4,272 games and having lost 4,272 games. A victory tonight would give the franchise an overall winning record for the second time ever, and for the first time since the day they won their very first game, 53 years ago.

Youngster Tyler Skaggs, with his own .500 record at 4-4, gets the start tonight, and has the heavy burden of keeping the team from again falling below that .500 mark. So far this season, after a slow start, the Angels have a .591 won-lost percentage, having won 52 while losing 36. They possess the second-best record in major league baseball, second only to the team they are chasing in the American League West, the Oakland Athletics.

The Angels also go into tonight's game
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with an eleven game home winning streak, one short of the team record set 47 years ago. The team has the majors’ best home record, 31-14, and they’ll be facing R.A. Dickey who has a personal four game losing streak.

The Angels have closed the once seemingly unsurmountable A’s lead to a manageable 3-1/2 games, and Oakland tonight hosts the Giants and their ace, Madison Bumgarner, in

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what has now come to be known as the "Bay Bridge Series". Neither Bumgarner nor A's starter Sonny Gray, who will be making his first ever start against the Giants, has been particularly sharp of late, and the Angels may have the opportunity to inch even closer to the the division lead.

The one bit of bad news for the Angels is of course the back pain that forced Jered Weaver from the game last night after pitching two perfect innings. Losing Weaver for any time at all would be a serious loss for the team and a big blow to Weaver who is having a big comeback season after his injury-plagued 2013.

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