CLEVELAND -- If Torii Hunter were giving the Angels a grade for the first half of the season, it'd be a solid "B."
"I give it a 'B' because of the slow start," Hunter said. "We had a 'D' at the beginning, but we started studying and working and getting it done, and I think we got our grades up."
The Angels reached the midway point of their season with Game No. 81 against the Indians on Tuesday -- and it was Progressive Field that kind of brought it all full circle.
It was here, in late April, when the Angels hit their low. Their bullpen was constantly blowing games, the offense struggled to score and the Angels dropped five in a row to put them at 6-14. Then, after a 3-2 loss to the Indians on April 27, they released Bobby Abreu, called up a kid named Mike Trout and took off -- posting a 37-21 record that's the best in the Majors since then.
Now, the Angels (45-35) entered Tuesday 10 games above .500 and are tied with the Orioles for the first AL Wild Card spot. Trout's emergence at the leadoff spot sparked the offense, the Ernesto Frieri acquisition practically saved the bullpen and the team started to come together.
"The clubhouse is our heart, this is it, what we are," Hunter said. "So now we're gelling, we're showing it on the field, we're playing well. But through the first six weeks, we had negativity, we had everything going on, so it showed on the field."