CHICAGO — Angels Manager Mike Scioscia couldn’t say for certain whether a 12-pitch at-bat that resulted in a third-inning single in a 9-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on June 12 is what sparked Erick Aybar’s month-long hot streak.
Nor could he rule it out.
“There’s nothing wrong with a 12-pitch at-bat. You can connect some of the dots. The quality of his at-bats has improved, no doubt about it. The last 75 at-bats, you’re seeing a tough out from both sides of the plate.”
Aybar was hitting .257 before that game in Camden Yards, and in his first at-bat he worked the second-longest plate appearance of his career, which ended with a single to center.
In the seventh, with the Angels trailing, 6-4, Aybar lined a three-run triple to the gap in right-center off reliever Pedro Strop to key a six-run inning. The switch-hitting shortstop hasn’t cooled since.
In 24 games, including the June 12 game, Aybar went 31 for 92 (.337) with 12 multi-hit games and 19 runs batted in to push his average to .285 entering Wednesday.
He led off Wednesday night’s game against the Cubs with a double to right to spark a five-run first inning that included Mike Trout’s run-scoring double, Josh Hamilton’s three-run homer and Mark Trumbo’s solo shot.
“He’s using the whole field,” Scioscia said of Aybar. “That’s when he’s at his best. You aren’t seeing the roll-overs to second base.”