Can the Los Angeles Angels Save the 2013 Season?


Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

After a dismal April that saw the Angels go 9 and 17 and be outscored 28 runs by their opponents, the Angels are starting to put it together. They are 14-10 in May and won their 8th game in a row yesterday against the Kansas City Royals. They’ve outscored their opponents this month by 23 runs. The bullpen has suddenly been solid. Josh Hamilton has hit home runs in consecutive games and Jered Weaver returns this Wednesday.

But the questions remains: can the 2013 season still be saved? It might all depend on your outlook.

The Optimist

According to Fangraphs, the Texas Rangers are predicted to win 94 games this season. For the Angels to win 94 games they would need to win 71 of their next 112 games or go 30 games over .500 for the rest of the season. Impossible you might say. But that’s because you are not an optimist.

The glass-half-full person would indicate that the division rival Oakland A’s did that just last year. From June 2nd to the end of the season, the A’s went 71-38 to take the division. That’s 33 games over .500. It’s a uphill battle but it’s happened before and very recently.

The Pessimist

Take a closer look at those projections via Fangraphs and it has the Angels going 60-52 for the rest of the season putting them with a 2013 record of 83 and 79. That in all likelihood wouldn’t cut it for a playoff spot. And even if the Angels did win 87 games, it still might not be good enough for a spot in the playoffs. Last year, the Angels won 89 games and were on their couches come late October.

Furthermore those projections fluctuate throughout the season and due to the Angels recent win streak it has the Angels projected outcome for 2013 looking rosier that what is the likely reality. They are predictive but by no means definitive.

Now look at the team. Albert Pujols continues to hobble down to first base while Josh Hamilton’s OPS is .684. The team’s pitching ERA sits a 4.38 for 23rd in the entire league and the June schedule has the Angels playing the Red Sox, Orioles Yankees, Tigers and surging Pirates. This team isn’t going anywhere.

The Practicalist

Going 30 games over .500 for the rest of the season is not something that you expect. Nor should you. A much easier goal would be one of the two wild card spots. Currently, the Angels sit 4 1/2 games out of wild card spot.

According to Baseball Prospectus this week, the Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians currently have the greatest chances of claiming the two wild card positions with 88 an 84 wins respectively. Fangraphs has the Yankees and A’s claiming those spots with 88 and 86 wins each.

If we take the predictive power of these two respectful institutions to be accurate, the Angels would need to win 85 to 87 games to claim a wild card spot. Or in other words, win 62 to 64 of their remaining 112 games for a pace just over 12-14 games over .500.

Can that be done? Well, not only can it be done but it was done last year by this very team. With a 112 games remaining in 2012 the Angels went 64-48 or 14 games over .500. So there is (tempered) hope for Angels fans, after all.