Though the top of the Los Angeles Angels' starting rotation has been solid of late, manager Mike Scioscia is rightfully concerned about its overall depth moving forward.
Getting Tommy Hanson back for Tuesday night's contest with the visiting Minnesota Twins could provide some help.C.J. Wilson has allowed two earned runs over his last four starts and Jered Weaver has won three of his last four outings, but Jerome Williams has posted a 14.54 ERA over his last four starts, and Joe Blanton suffered his major league-worst 13th defeat in Monday's 4-3 loss to the Twins.Hanson (4-2, 5.10 ERA) hasn't pitched since giving up seven runs in two innings of the Angels' 10-9 win over Seattle on June 20. He was scratched from his next start before going on the disabled list with a right forearm strain.The right-hander's return should be a major plus for an Angels rotation that is still missing Jason Vargas, who has been out since mid-June with a blood clot in his left armpit."I think the biggest thing is getting depth back in our rotation," Scioscia told the team's official website. "You can talk about needing a sixth and seventh (starter), but at this point in the season, we need one through five. We need those guys to get it going for the second half and we're not quite there yet."Scioscia said Hanson may have a pitch count Tuesday."We'll evaluate that, but he should have enough to pitch deep enough into the game," Scioscia said.The status of Josh Hamilton, though, is unclear after he was scratched for Monday's contest with a stiff right ankle."I have to wake up (Tuesday) morning, see what happens, see how it feels and see what they tell me," Hamilton said.The Angels (46-51) could use all the offensive help they can get having averaged 2.1 runs while dropping five of their last seven. Albert Pujols went 0 for 4 for the second straight game and is hitting just .249 on the season.Minnesota (42-54) began its seven-game road trip with its fifth victory in six tries, as Joe Mauer had three hits and is batting .459 over his last 10 games.Left fielder Clete Thomas hit a solo homer and an RBI double before robbing Chris Iannetta of a potential three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth that would have given Los Angeles the lead.The Twins' starting rotation, though, ranks last in the majors with a 5.19 ERA, a mark rookie right-hander Kyle Gibson will look to improve.Gibson (2-2, 6.45) gave up three runs and walked four over five innings in another shaky outing, but the offense provided enough support for a 10-4 win over the New York Yankees on July 14."We'd like to see him attack the zone a lot more," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's official website. "He just kind of picked a little too much for our liking. The game was slow-paced, and he knows that. He's got to do a little better."Minnesota had lost five straight road meetings with the Angels prior to Monday's win.
Opponents are hitting just .116 (5-for-43) against Tommy Hanson's curveball this season and have not registered a hit against that pitch in Hanson's last three starts. He'll face a Twins team that ranks fifth in MLB in hitting the curveball, batting at a .247 clip against the pitch.