Halo Effect: Hamilton improving

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hamilton has gotten off to a slow start this season, but it isn't too late to turn things around.

Last night Josh Hamilton played the role of hero for the Los Angeles Angels, hitting a game-tying two-run homer off of St. Louis Cardinals closer Edward Mujica in the bottom of the ninth inning. While that doesn’t make up for his .688 OPS so far this season after signing that big free agent deal, Hamilton has been playing well of late.

Riding the streak

The home run extended Hamilton’s hit streak to nine games. With a hit today, Hamilton will have the eighth hit streak of at least 10 games in his career and first since last August when he had an 11-gamer.

During his current streak, Hamilton is hitting .400 with an OPS of 1.100. This recent surge has helped lengthen the Angels' lineup, resulting in an 8-1 record in that stretch.

Josh Hamilton This Season

Patience pays off

It has only been a small recent sample, but Hamilton has been noticeably more patient at the plate. In his first 72 games this season, he swung at 56 percent of the pitches he saw and chased 38 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. That has been much improved in the past nine games, which is hopefully a sign that Hamilton is willing to make the adjustments to his approach.

Catching up to the heat

One of the more perplexing numbers for Hamilton this season had been his inability to hit fastballs. He entered this season a career .350 hitter against heat. In Hamilton’s MVP season of 2010, he hit .402 against fastballs.

Before his current hit streak, Hamilton was hitting just .174 against fastballs. That ranked second-worst in baseball ahead of only the Florida Marlins’ Adeiny Hechavarria (.171). During his current streak, Hamilton is 7-for-12 against fastballs with three of those hits going for doubles.

Today’s matchup

Doubront (BOS) vs Wilson (LAA)

The Angels need continue their strong play this weekend against the Boston Red Sox. In late May, after running off eight straight wins, the Halos proceeded to lose 11 of their next 15 games.

Tonight they take on Red Sox lefty Felix Doubront, who has been effective for the most part this season. In 13 of his 15 starts, Doubront has allowed three earned runs or fewer.

Among Angels hitters, Hamilton is the only one to have faced Doubront more than 10 times -- going 4-for-9 with two walks and three extra-base hits.