5 letters R-E-L-A-X, Angels Fans!


To put it lightly the Angels are having a rough week. The Astros swept the Angels in Houston in the beginning of the week to recapture the top spot in the AL West standings. They then faced their neighbors from the north in the Los Angeles Dodgers only to be swept by them has well. Luckily when the Angels got to Houston they did not have to face Houston’s all-star, Angel killer and ace, Dallas Keuchel, however they did have to face newly acquired from the Oakland Athletics’ and former Angel, Scott Kazmir (31) and his 2.10 era on the year. Things did not get easier for the Halos when they got to LA. They had to face arguably the best 1-2 starters in all of baseball.

First up on Friday was Zack Greinke and is Major League best 1.41 era. Angels’ did have some luck with him but overall the team struggled with outfielders Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout being the only members of the team to have hits off of Greinke and the team falling 5-3 to the Dodgers.  Saturday did not get much better and probably got worse as the Angels’ went up against reigning NL MVP and NL Cy Young award winner in Clayton Kershaw. This marked the first time the AL MVP (Mike Trout) and NL MVP’s faced each other since the 1937 World Series when Giants’ Carl Hubbel pitched to Yankees’ Lou Gehrig. Despite Greinke dominating this season many still believe Kershaw to be the best pitcher in baseball and he proved that by pitching 8 scoreless innings of basbeall and only giving up 2 hits. He came out in the 9th and threw a handful of warm-up tosses only to be pulled by manager Don Mattingly for closer Kenley Jansen. A roaring Dodgers crowd greeted Kershaw as he and 37 inning scoreless streak as he walked off the mound and into the dugout.

Typically facing a team’s closer is less than desirable but after the 2-hit performance Kershaw showed in the game, anyone was better than him. The Angels did manage to get a run off Jansen and put him in a bit of trouble but that was all they were able to muster. Dropping the Saturday matinee 3-1. Starting pitcher CJ Wilson also told reporters Saturday that he had bone spurs in his elbow and had been dealing with the pain since April. He also said that the injury would require surgery and that he would likely be missing the remainder of the 2015 season. Suddenly, the pitching depth that the Angels did not part with for a bat at the trade deadline has become very important. However still very young and inexperienced.

Sunday, Angels looked to turn it around against Dodgers’ newly acquired pitcher from the Marlins’ Mat Latos (4.48 era) Latos is a quality pitcher with a career era of 3.43 but with all due respect, is not the two headed monster the Dodgers’ have in the front part of their rotation. Angels’ sent out Cory Rasmus for his first start of the year. Rasmus lasted a mere 3 innings giving up 2 earned runs. Making it a bullpen day for the club. Angels’ fought hard and didn’t quit when down 2-1 in the top of the 8th. Kole Calhoun continued his hot streak and hit his 14th home run of the year to left center, tying the game. The next half inning, Dodgers’ Andre Ethier helped them take the lead again hitting a home run to the deepest part of the ballpark off of normally reliable Joe Smith. In the top of the 9th the Angels fought back again as catcher Chris Iannetta hit a two-out RBI double off the centerfield wall scoring Erick Aybar to tie it back up at 3. If Ianetta’s hit was only a foot or two further it would have been a potential game-winning homer as the Dodgers did not score in the bottom of the 9th.

However, in the bottom of the 10th the Angels were forced to bring in reliever Drew Rucinski who had just been recalled from AAA the day before as they had no other arms left in the bullpen beside closer Huston Street.  Street was being saved for a potential closing situation in later innings if the Angels took the lead. After allowing a walk to Adrian Gonzalez, Rucinski faced Andre Ethier. Ethier had his chance to be the hero once again and he did not disappoint, driving the offering to right field on a rope and over the wall for a walk-off homerun and sending the Dodgers’ and their fans home happy after completing the 3-game sweep of the Angels’.

The Angels have had a tough run as of late for sure, and faced some tough pitchers. Monday, the team takes on the Cleveland Indians and their ace and reigning American League Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Let’s hope so. The good news is that the Indians aren’t a very good team and Kluber is 6-11 on the seasons with a 3.44 era. So he is beatable if the Angels’ can get to him and score runs. With the Halos’ running out Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, and Hector Santiago against the Tribe in the 3-game set they look to have a pretty good chance to turn things around.

The problem is the team as a whole is struggling. Hitting, starting pitching, relief pitching and even reckless base running mistakes. However this is only a slump, and all teams go through them. Even though the Astros’s and Rangers became significantly better before the trade deadline and the Angels did next to nothing, they still have a very good team. Are they good enough to regain first place and not have to go to a one game wildcard? I believe so. If the team is going to slump, it is better to slump now and turn it around with 2 months left to play. Last season the Angels ran away with the AL West while the Kansas City Royals scratched and clawed their way to that one game playoff, only to go one of the best runs in recent playoff history. Sweeping both the AL West champion Angels, and the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles to make it to the World Series for the first time since 1985, before losing in 7 games to the San Francisco Giants.

Great thing about baseball is you have the next day to go out and get things back on track and that is exactly what the Angels will look to do at home against a poor Indians club. So Angels fans relax it’s just a slump. Even the 1927 Yankees had an 8 game slide.