With Mike Trout and Albert Pujols slumping over the last two months, the Los Angeles Angels have been searching for someone to step up and provide some pop in the middle of the line-up: Enter C.J. Cron. After slumping in the first half of the season which saw Cron batting .198 with only two home runs and 7 RBI’s as of July 3rd, Cron has been one of the hottest Angels hitting .307 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI’s since that point. In the past 15 games Cron has four home runs and 14 RBI’s with three game winning hits including a huge 8th inning home run to beat Houston last Saturday night and a five RBI game against on September 4th in a 5-2 Angels victory. Cron has also been the every day first baseman over those last two weeks with Pujols not being able to play the field.
Los Angeles Angels first baseman C.J. Cron (24) hits the go-ahead home run against the Houston Astros. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
With Cron anchoring the 5th spot and the return of David Freese from the DL, who is hitting .358 in the number sixth/seventh spot, the Angels bottom of the line-up is helping make up for the lack of production from Trout and Pujols. Recently Carlos Perez and Taylor Featherston have also got into the act batting .295 and .240 respectively so now the bottom of the line-up is not such a black hole as it was in August when only Cron was batting above .250 in the 5-9 spots and Featherston, Johnny Giavotella, Kaleb Cowart, Kyle Kubitza, Perez, Chris Ianetta, and Conor Gillaspie combined to hit .191 as a collective group. Since September 1st the Angels have also been winning a lot more than in August as they have already won nine games this month after only winning 10 games in the whole month of August.
Don’t look now, but the Angels are only two games out of the playoffs as they trail Houston by two games for the second wild-card spot with 16 games to play after a big comeback victory over Minnesota Thursday night in an 11-8 victory that saw Trout finally show signs of breaking out his six-week slump hitting two home runs including a grand slam while driving in five runs. Featherston also hit his second home run of the season going three for five with two runs scored and two runs batted in. Freese also went three for five and Ianetta getting a rare start hit his 9th home run going 2 for 5. The offensive resurgence rescued Hector Santiago who only last 0.2 innings giving up five runs in the first inning as the Twins jumped out to a 5-0 lead only to see the Angels answer with a six run second inning capped by Trout’s 37th home run of the season a grand slam. The Angels scored nine unanswered runs over the next three inning to take a 9-5 lead and the Angels bullpen made it stand up for a huge series opening victory against the Minnesota Twins who the Angels trail by one game in the wild-card race as well.
Los Angeles Angels hoping for happy times down the stretch run.Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
With their game getting rained out Friday night the Angels will play a crucial double-header Saturday against the Twins with Andrew Heaney getting the ball in game one and Garrett Richards pitching the night cap. Another big shot in the arm could be provided Sunday as Matt Shoemaker will come back from missing his last two starts and hopefully provide another lift as he will start the final game of the series. Will the offense step up in time to propel the Los Angeles Angels past Houston and Minnesota into the final playoff spot we will see? The Angels seem to have had nine lives this season, but the next seven days will determine if their final life is the one that we will all remember as the amazing comeback that salvaged a wild season.