When the Los Angeles Angels squared off against their crosstown rivals at Dodger Stadium on May 28, shortstop Erick Aybar was a victim of the funk that had consumed the entire Angels batting order. Aybar was hitting just .254 and was without a home run on the season, often hitting last in the order during the Halos’ early struggles.
Fast-forward a month and a half, and Aybar has helped Los Angeles claw back to within three games of .500 (43-46). If the Halos still lack consistency on occasion, it hasn’t been Aybar’s fault: the switch-hitter has hit at a solid .346 clip with 10 RBIs, a home run and a triple over his past 14 starts.
In Saturday’s contest against the Chicago Cubs, Aybar led off ahead of Mike Trout. Manager Mike Scioscia has experimented with a number of lineup permutations so far this year, desperately trying to squeeze production out of an offense that was supposed to be the league’s most feared once upon a time.
Aybar’s reemergence gives Scioscia even more options to play around with: he could continue to hit Aybar at leadoff as he did on Tuesday (though that move was probably because the Angels were forced to bat their pitcher per NL rules), he could hit him second behind either Trout or J.B. Shuck, or he can keep him towards the bottom of the order to provide some more balance in the Halos’ offensive attack.
Whether Aybar hits first, eighth or ninth, the Angels are praying for some semblance of consistency on the offensive end. Let’s hope Aybar can provide that and set the table for Los Angeles’ big bats to do some real damage going forward.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.