Angelic Hopes For The Second Half
By MJ Lloyd
Superman? Superman Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Hopes were running high with the Angels approaching .500 before the All Star break. Needing just a sweep of the less than middling Mariners to break even on the year, the Halos were promptly swept out of Seattle and fell nine games back from a Wild Card spot. According to Cool Standings, that gives the Angels a 6.6% chance to make the playoffs. Another, sadder way to look at it is that there are more teams ahead of the Angels in the Wild Card race than there are behind them, if you’re counting the Astros and White Sox as MLB teams.
While the odds are stacked against an Angels run for the playoffs, there is a lot of baseball left in the 2013 season and crazier things have happened. Prince Fielder did just hit a triple in an All Star Game, for example. So, I turned to the fine staff here at Halo Hangout to see what their hopes were for the second half. Spoiler, mine is a
romantic picnic with Mike Trout.
We just experienced a disappointing first half. Moving forward, I would like to see the Angels’ starting rotation pitch more consistently. I would also like to see the offense continue to execute with RISP. A few key components (i.e. Bourjos, Vargas, and Madson) will also need to return with a clean bill of health. Easier said than done, but that’s what I think will be required in order for this team to right the ship.
So on that note, I’d like to see the LA Angels stay healthy for the second-half of the season and see what this team can really do when its clicking on all cylinders (or mostly all cylinders). And if they remain healthy, I’d like to seem them finish with a winning record for the second-half of the season. We are going to see the Angels play 34 games against teams in their division. If we are ever going to be contenders with this squad, we need to win against teams in our division. The second-half will be a good test of that.
1. I’m ready to see Conger get the majority of the remaining starts behind the plate for the remainder of the season. Not that Iannetta’s bad, I just think as a whole Hank’s making great strides and he’s now the better player.
2. Blanton needs to, at the very least, spend the rest of the season in the pen, barring any more injuries of course.
3. At some point, I want to see this team clicking on all cylinders for a long stretch; pitching, offense, and defense. Whether they can steal a playoff spot or not, I want to know this team is capable winning consistently.
My hope is that the Angels can be as good and consistent after the All Star break as they’ve been inconsistent and not exactly good before the break!
I want consistency. Good or bad, doesn’t matter. I imagine it being easier to be an Astros fan. They know their team is bad, and a win is simply a bonus. The Angels were expected to be good. Very good. But this roller coaster of a season is doing a number on fan morale. And my hairline.
Okay, so aside from my longshot hope of playing Wiffle Ball with Jered Weaver or a Vlad Guerrero comeback, I do have some real hopes for the Angels in the second half. And they’re not going to be popular. It starts soon with the Angels selling off whatever they can by the end of July. Jason Vargas and Scott Downs aren’t bringing back A-list prospects but the Angels system needs an infusion of any kind of talent.
Which leads me to my even less popular stage two hope, the Angels tanking in the second half. Not intentionally, mind you, but I’d rather see a bottom ten finish than 82-82. The hole is too big to climb out of in my opinion and the Angels could use a protected-from-free-agent-signings top 10 pick in next years draft after hemorrhaging draft picks for Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton.
Of course, I also hope Trout ups his pace and puts up the greatest season ever by a 21-year-old after posting the greatest 20-year-old season last year. He has a 4.6 bWAR at the slightly past half way point which is good for the 33rd best total for 21-year-olds. He has a long way to go to catch Rogers Hornsby‘s 9.9 bWAR or Rickey Henderson‘s 8.7 bWAR but Trout will soon be passing names like Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle who posted 5.3’s. It shouldn’t be ignored that Trout is doing historic things to baseball even if he’s likely to finish third in AL MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis or lose to Colin Kaepernick for Breakout Athlete ESPY (shame on you, football fan voters).
In summary, it appears I’m the downer of the group which, frankly, shouldn’t surprise anyone. But hey, I’ll happily eat all the crow you can feed me if I’m wrong when October rolls around. I’m rather poor at predictions/speculations as I proved when I cashed in my 401K to buy all of the antique Twinkies on eBay.