Over the last month, the Angels have been playing their best ball of the year, but it probably does not matter, as they started to play the way they should have all year far too late to make a difference.
With 15 games remaining, the Angels have a tougher schedule than most of the teams in front of them, with six against Seattle, three against the White Sox, and a huge six against Texas. The three AL East teams in the running for two or three playoff spots, New York, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay, all have the majority of their games against the likes of Boston, Toronto, and Minnesota, and only Baltimore and Tampa play each other, with a season-ending series. NY does have a three game series against Oakland, who may have a tougher final 16 than LA, playing seven against Texas, three in Detroit, and the NY series, plus three versus Seattle.
|As the Angels sit three back for a wild-card spot, and realizing that they likely would have to beat out either New York, Baltimore, or Oakland – unless they can take all six against Texas, who also lose a few to Oakland (remember this post from a few weeks ago?) – they do have one giant incentive: IF they were to make it to the wild card “play-in” game, they could have a healthy Jered Weaver available, and they, and I, would take those chances against any pitcher New York, Baltimore, or Texas could use, and, pretty much the same against Oakland or Tampa’s possible starters.||
Majestic Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels T-Shirt
With several hot bats, especially Torii Hunter and Erick Aybar, the Angels’ offense seems primed for the final 15, but the pitching is another matter. While the starters seem in better shape then they have been for quite awhile, especially with a presumably healthy Weaver, Haren basically on track, and a consistent Zack Greinke, it’s now the bullpen that is struggling. The horrendous start the team had was in large part due to the bullpen, but the acquisition of Ernesto Frieri and his great work for three months as the closer, along with a few other contributors, turned that around. Recently, however, has had some erratic outings, like giving up back-to-back ninth inning home runs in Saturday’s loss to KC.
They need Frieri in form if they have any hope for the rest of the season. And Mike Scioscia needs to forget Vernon Wells exists, and leave him on the bench. For the rest of the season. If anyone thinks he has actually improved, consider this. When he came of the DL the end of July, he was batting .244. His average is now .230. He’s hit a robust .207 since his return. Nuff said.