After mediocre road trip the Los Angeles Angels need to have a strong homestand


The Los Angeles Angels came home after a mediocre 4-5 road trip hoping to start a winning streak and get back in the AL wild-card race and possibly even the AL Western Division race.  After the winning two out of three games from the Texas Rangers who the Angels are chasing for the second wild-card spot, they are off to a good start, however they must face the streaking NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

When the two teams met in early August the Dodgers swept the three game series from the Los Angeles Angels behind Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw who each pitched 8 strong innings limiting the Angels to two runs in two games.  The third game was a back and forth late-inning classic that Andre Ethier won with a walk-off home run in the 10th. Hopefully the addition of David Freese to the back end of the line-up will continue to help the Angels’ offense find it’s groove that it was in during the month of July.  The Angels will counter with rookie Nick Tropeano who is filling in for Matt Shoemaker.  He will be followed by Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards as the Angels hoped to build on their recent hot streak that has seen them win back-to-back series for the first time in nearly a month.

The final three games of the homestand are as equally if not more important as the Angels will face AL West leaders, the Houston Astros with hopes of gaining ground in the division race.  Anyway you look at these games are important if the Angels hope to recover from a dismal 10-19 August record which saw them fall from a playoff lock and a serious contender for the AL West title, to a team struggling to stay above .500 and in playoff contention.

The keys to this happening will be a strong finish by Mike Trout who hit his first home run Sunday since early August. Another key is Albert Pujols who a month ago looked like a lock to hit 40 home runs for the first time in the American League, to a guy struggling to keep his average above .250.  However, the Angels success may be more linked to the other seven guys in the line-up, most notably Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, and David Freese.  When the Angels were on a streak that same them win 18 of 21 games in mid-to-late July Calhoun and Cron both were a major part of it as was David Freese.  In the last 5 games since Freese has returned the Angels have scored 28 runs an average of 5.7 runs per game which is over two runs a game better than they averages in August.  The starting rotation which has also struggled in recent weeks seems to have found its stride again and the bullpen has been solid for the most part.

If the Los Angeles Angels can continue these trends they could make the playoffs in some capacity and make a run just like the Kansas City Royals (AL Champions 2014) and San Francisco Giants (2014 World Series Champions) who both barely made the playoffs as the wild-card and ended up in a 7-game World Series which the Giants won.  To steal a line from Jim Carrey in the movie “Dumb and Dumber” , “You’re saying there’s a chance, Yes!!!”

Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron will prove key if the Los Angeles Angels are to make a playoff run in September Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports