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LAA@SEA: Pujols crushes a two-run shot to left

The Angels' greatest strength heading into the 2014 season was unquestionably their offense.

Now, with Josh Hamilton expected to miss six to eight weeks due to surgery on his left thumb, the Angels will see how deep they really are.

"All of us can't get out of our shoes," center fielder Mike Trout said. "We have to keep the same approach."

The Angels -- off Thursday before opening a weekend Interleague series with the Mets -- ranked seventh in the Majors in runs and fifth in OPS last season, despite getting only a .739 OPS from Hamilton and 99 games from Albert Pujols.

Now, starting with a matchup against Mets right-hander Dillon Gee at Angel Stadium on Friday night, it'll be up to Pujols, who has homered in back-to-back games, and Trout, the best all-around player in baseball, and the likes of David Freese, Howie Kendrick, Raul Ibanez and Kole Calhoun to carry the load.

"Over the years we've had a lot of key players miss significant time, but we've been able to absorb it with depth and move on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's what we have to focus on doing for the next six to eight weeks, whatever the time frame is."

Gee is still looking for his first victory of the season, after two no-decisions and an ERA of 4.50. "I feel good," Gee said. "I feel a lot better at this point than I did last year this early on. Now it just hopefully continues throughout the year."

Mets: Collins returns to Anaheim
Mets skipper Terry Collins led the Angels for two full seasons in 1997-98, compiling a respectable 169-155 record.

In 1999, though, a team picked to win the division was hampered by injuries. The losses started to mount and Collins basically lost the clubhouse, resigning with 29 games left and a last-place, 51-82 record. The following season, Scioscia took over.

Collins is starting his fourth year with the Mets, and this will be his first visit to Angel Stadium as an opposing manager.

Does Collins have any special emotions, heading back to Anaheim? "No, it's a whole different [scenario], I don't know anybody," Collins said. "I know the third-base coach [Gary DiSarcina]. He played for me. I know Scioscia. I know the bench coach, when I was the farm director for the Dodgers, was one of my managers in the Minor Leagues, so I know the staff very well. But I don't know any of the players. It was a great place. I loved it out there. It was a great spot. But I won't know anybody."

Angels: Skaggs looking to build on solid debut
The Mets probably know Tyler Skaggs has a two-seamer by now, but the Astros may not have when the 22-year-old left-hander took the mound against them Saturday. Skaggs hadn't thrown it in Spring Training, but it felt good during the pregame bullpen, so he relied heavily on it in his 2014 debut and used it to give up just one unearned run in eight stellar innings at Minute Maid Park.

"That's why you see all those 90- and 91-mph [fastballs] instead of 93 and 94," Skaggs said. "They kept swinging at it, so why not get outs early in the count and throw some two-seamers? I threw it in the bullpen and it was good. It turned out to be a plus pitch for me."

Worth noting
• Since 2007, the Angels are a Major League-best 84-44 in Interleague Play.

• The weekend set will mark the Mets' third visit to Angel Stadium, after also playing in Anaheim in 2003 and '08. The all-time series is tied at 6-6. Comments