With 21 of their next 28 games against teams with sub-.500 records, now is the time for the Angels to make a run.
However, the stretch did not begin as planned, with a 7-6 loss on Tuesday night against the Astros, a team that has impressed Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"I think the first thing you notice, and I think we had it in our first scouting report, is the amount of energy that's on the field and how guys play," Scioscia said. "And as you kind of dovetail out into some of the specifics of their game, they're running the bases as aggressively as they can, they have some guys in the lineup that can definitely swing the bat and they can hurt you. There's a lot of young talent on that field. They're playing with purpose. As we found out at home, if you're going to beat them, you have to play well. They played us tough out there."
As the Angels look to start a winning streak on Wednesday, Joe Blanton will be looking for his first win of the season -- and as a member of the Angels. Although he is 0-5 with a 5.97 ERA, Blanton is coming off back-to-back quality starts.
If the Angels are to start that winning streak and get Blanton his first win, they will have to score some runs off of Astros' starter Bud Norris -- something they were unable to do earlier this season.
Norris faced the Angels in Anaheim and threw seven scoreless innings.
The Astros snapped a six-game losing streak on Tuesday and hope Norris can get them back-to-back wins for the first time since April 23-24 against the Mariners.
Angels: Madson nearing return
Ryan Madson's recovery from Tommy John surgery may be nearing its end. Madson threw a bullpen session prior to Tuesday's game at Minute Maid Park and is expected to pitch in extended spring training in Arizona later this week.
Madson wants to face live hitters every other day and join the Angels next week.
• Since landing on the disabled list in just his second start of the season, Angels ace Jered Weaver is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Thursday.
Weaver's rehab has taken longer than expected, but a bullpen session is a sign things are moving in the right direction.
Astros: Offense breaks out
The Astros erupted for more runs in the third inning against the Angels on Tuesday than they had scored in 10 of their 11 previous games. Of course, they had lost 10 of their previous 11 games. The outburst is something manager Bo Porter wants to see more often.
"Our players understand what it takes to be consistent, and the No. 1 thing we continue to drive home is when you get a good pitch to hit, you put a good swing on it," he said.
• Chris Carter has made 14 starts in left field this season, but with the additions of Trevor Crowe and Jimmy Parades, the Astros have more outfield options. Carter, who leads the Astros with seven home runs and is tied with Jose Altuve with 17 RBIs, played first base for the second time this season on Tuesday.
• Albert Pujols has hit 26 home runs at Minute Maid Park throughout his career -- the most by a visiting player. While Pujols has had success in Houston, he is hitting just .185 in 27 career at-bats against Norris.
• Astros slugger Carlos Pena is 5-for-12 and hitting .417 in his career off Blanton.
William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
AM830 KLAA IS THE HOME OF ANGELS BASEBALL
The Angels Live Play By Play Broadcasters
Every Angels game is broadcast live on AM830 KLAA.
Terry Smith is the play by play announcer on the Angels' flagship radio station, AM 830, KLAA.
Smith joined the Angels in 2002 after serving as the radio voice of the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers for 19 seasons. From 1983-1997, Smith also served as Sports Director at WBNS AM in Columbus, Ohio. Smith was recognized three times by the Ohio Associated Press for his sportscasts and WBNS AM was named the Outstanding Sports Operation in Ohio six times by the Associated Press. Smith worked as a sports anchor, talk show host and was simply known as "The Voice" serving as play-by-play announcer for the Ohio State University Football and Basketball Radio Network from 1986-1997.
Smith started his baseball broadcasting career in 1978, calling games for the Jacksonville Suns and later called games for the Memphis Chicks from 1981-82. At Memphis, Smith also worked as the Sports Director on WHBQ AM, anchoring sports on the morning and afternoon drive shows.
The Philadelphia, PA native attended Temple University, where he played collegiate club hockey, as well as Jones College in Jacksonville, FL which has produced the likes of actors Joe Piscapo and Jay Thomas. In February, 2002 Smith made his on-screen debut as a broadcaster in the baseball movie "A Little Inside", which aired on HBO and Showtime.
Smith also assists in Angels Community Relations with appearances. He has served as Honorary Chair of the Orange County Learning for Life's Exploring program.
Mark Langston enters his first full season on the Angels’ broadcast team after joining Terry Smith on the air as a part-time analyst last season.
Langston pitched 16 seasons at the Major League level, including eight campaigns with the Angels. He was originally drafted by Seattle in the 1981 and pitched for the Mariners (1984-1989) and Montreal Expos (1989) before joining the Angels prior to the 1990 season. On April 11, 1990 Langston and Mike Witt combined to pitch the eighth no-hitter in Angels history and the first combined no-hitter in club history.
He pitched to an 88-74 record with a 3.97 ERA in his eight seasons with the Angels before finishing his career with the San Diego Padres (1998) and Cleveland Indians (1999). A four time All-Star, Langston also won seven Gold Glove Awards, including five straight from 1991-1995 with the Halos.