Keys to Maintaining Division Lead

By Ryan Whitehead

With the All-Star game scheduled tomorrow, the Angels are situated in good position at this point of the season sitting a half game up in the AL West. No one really expected the Angels to climb up top of the division the way the team was looking imbalanced a month ago. A little change in luck contributed to the team’s climb to the top of the division.

While the Angels got hot, the Houston Astros went cold by ending the first half on a six game losing streak. Even with this change of luck between teams, the division is still wide open for grabs for any team. The Seattle Mariners have a young surging offense led by Kyle Seager and pitching ace “King Felix” or Felix Hernandez. Even with their losing streak at the end, the Astros have to be the most surprising team this season so far. The Astros weren’t even expected to have a decent team until at least 2017. With a young staff, lead by number one prospect Carlos Correa at shortstop, productive second baseman Jose Altuve and All Star starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, the Astros still remain a threat for the Angels in the division race.

The game has become a young mans game and the Astros and Mariners have many young talent on their staff and in their farm systems. How can the Angels manage to keep the division lead through the second half of the season?

The pitching staff still remains questionable especially the inconsistency with starter C.J. Wilson. Also, with starter Jared Weaver expected to return soon, what will happen to Andrew Heaney? Some expect him to return to the minors in order to get playing time. Without a loss yet in the majors, Heaney will be tough decision to either keep up or send down.

The offense, no doubt, as been the reason for the Angels success in the past month or so. As long as the main core of hitters stay healthy and consistent, the Angels can remain the top team in the division race. With Albert Pujols and Mike Trout leading the offense with 26 home runs each, other players such as Erick Aybar and C.J. Cron have contributed to the offensive surge. Cron has shown his power hitting and Aybar with his small ball.

The pitching remains the biggest question going into the second half of the season. Many Angels fans have questions about Jared Weaver about him re-finding his groove from last season. Many questions remain about Andrew Heaney as far where he’ll be the rest of the season.

As the second half approaches, the Angels are looking at maintaining the surging offense and find that balance throughout the starting rotation.