Every time the Angels look like they have turned a corner, they hit a new roadblock that shoves them back. They won six of eight in mid June, then lost three in a row to Pittsburgh. Then they won 11 of their next 14, only to go to Seattle this weekend and lose three in a row to the Mariners, finishing the season’s first half at a demoralizing 44-49.
The team will enter the second half with numerous problems that do not portend well for significant improvement. While the first half slumps of Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols will hopefully resolve themselves into decent if not outstanding finishes to the season, the state of disarray that the starting staff finds itself in is not at fodder for optimism.
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|The team currently has two reliable starters, two. After C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver, the rotation features Joe Blanton (need we say more than referring you to our prior musings about Mr. B.) and the disappointing Jerome Williams, who after a fine 2012 and an excellent start to 2013, has now seen the team lose seven of his last 10 starts, over which his 2.58 ERA has ballooned to 4.60. In his last eight innings, he has given up 17 earned runs while allowing 24 batters to reach base (yea, three per inning).|
Some hope, however, may be on the horizon. Jason Vargas, the team’s top starter in through May, but who was then sidelined by a blood clot which required surgery, is now throwing, and hopefully will return within a month. Tommy Hanson, out for almost a month this time, is scheduled to return in another week. Until these guys are back, not only will Blanton and Williams continue as the three and four guys, but that fifth spot may see the likes of Michael Roth, BIlly Buckner, and/or the enigmatic Garrett Richards.
Peter Bourgos, hopefully, will be back in the outfield before the end of July, but who knows when, or if, Ryan Madson will ever pitch in a game for the Angels.
The Angels’ season will be made or buried forever in the three weeks following the All-Star break. They open the second half playing seven of their first ten against division leader Oakland, and then six of their next ten against second place Texas.
The Angels’ season could well be over by the morning of August 8.