The Los Angeles Angels likely have little to feel positive about after Sunday’s 7-3 loss against the divisional rival Texas Rangers, a game that moved them to 2-4 to start the season and one which saw team ace Jered Weaver go down with an injury to his non-pitching elbow.
But if there was any consolation to be found, it would likely be found in the bat of Josh Hamilton.
No, it wasn’t quite the two-homer display that Albert Pujols put on over the weekend, but the team’s new $125 million man did come alive on Sunday, recording his first multi-hit game with a trio of knocks against his former team, including his first extra-base hit of the season, a double off the previously near-perfect Yu Darvish.
In fact, you could say it was the only game of the season that Hamilton has really contributed offensively so far in 2013, and though it didn’t help the team to victory as Weaver became the latest in a line of aces to get shelled on the day, there was enough in what the No. 4 hitter did to not take the defeat as a total loss.
Ironically, the most promising part of Hamilton’s day is represented by a big ol’ zero on his line — specifically, the one on his strikeout column. The whiffs had been the one carryover from his second half in 2012 that the Angels didn’t want to see, and the cleanup hitter did not alleviate fears in that department, striking out multiple times in each of the last four games and carrying a 41.7 percent whiff rate going into Sunday.
It goes without saying that Hamilton is at his best when he can put his All-World power to the ball on a regular basis, and though the early 21.8 percent swinging strike rate doesn’t look particularly good right now, especially considering that he’d recorded a career-high 20 percent in 2012, that he finally went through a game without striking out is at least a step forward.
As the Angels continue on in trying to avoid their slow start from 2012 (in which they also started 2-4), a small step for Hamilton will hopefully mean big things for this offense as they try to bolster their production up from 10th place in the AL.