After the LA Angels encouraged fans with a solid start to the season, including multiple comebacks and offensive explosions, the Angels have slowed down drastically. The Angels have stumbled throughout April.
The LA Angels have one week left in April and currently sit at 8-12. That is tied for last in the American League West. Over the past two weeks, the pitching has not been bad. They have undoubtedly given the Halo offense chances to win games.
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However, the Angels bats have been asleep for the better part of this poor stretch. The worst game for the Halo offense came against the Kansas City Royals when Tyler Skaggs threw seven innings of shutout ball. His efforts were wasted as the Royals won the game 1-0 on a walk-off single in the ninth.
Despite all the question marks surrounding the starting rotation, they have been doing their job for the most part this season. The bullpen has also been exceptional. It does not matter how great or horrible these pitchers perform if the Angels cannot score any runs.
Player of the Week: Andrelton Simmons
This recognition could go to Mike Trout every week, as he has consistently been the Angels best hitter this season (and every year since he reached The Show). However, there is no fun in that.
This week was close between Andrelton Simmons and Albert Pujols. However, Simmons had a slightly higher batting average and was his usual self in the field- an absolute stud. Simmons hit .321 this past week and drove in five runs. He struck out five times while walking twice. Simmons also went deep twice, one of them being a grand slam in the Halos 5-4 win on Saturday. His grand slam was the first by an Angels shortstop since David Eckstein.
Simmons has already hit three home runs this season, and has been driving the ball much better than years past. He may not hit the 17 big flies he did in 2013, but Simmons has undoubtedly improved the power factor of his game.
In the field, Simmons did have an error on the week, overthrowing a ball to first. However, that is easily outweighed by the handful of jaw-dropping throws and tags this week. His best play came on Saturday, when he barely reached a ball up the middle and flipped it to second with his glove to start a double play.
Simmons has truly become a five-tool ballplayer. He came to the Angels as a defensive specialist (and a great one at that). However, he has changed the step in his swing which has helped him improve his batting average and power. He is making hard contact on 33.9% this season (per Fangraphs) of his batted balls, well above his career average of 25%.
Pitcher of the Week: Matt Shoemaker
Matt Shoemaker did not have a great start to the season. He won the 2016 Nick Adenhart Award as the Angels best pitcher, but had not been able to replicate that success in 2017. He had not been awful, especially when his 2016 brain injury is taken into account. Shoemaker finally had a dominant start this week though. He went seven innings against the Houston Astros, allowing two runs on two solo shots. Besides the two long balls, he allowed only one other hit. He walked two batters as well, but struck out seven batters. Shoemaker has now had two quality starts in a row, and it appears he is finding his groove. Last season, Shoemaker started off horribly and was sent down to the minors before he went on to have a career year. Hopefully this start is a sign of things to come in future starts for Shoemaker.