The Los Angeles Angels have been hanging around in the wild-card race due to many unsung heroes. In the past six games they have won four of them taking series’ from the two top teams in the American League the Astros and Yankees.
When Mike Trout went down in late May the Los Angeles Angels sat at 26-28. Since then the Angels are 9-6 winning four of their last five series including beating the Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, and the New York Yankees.
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There have been a few keys to the Angels better play since Trout went down with his thumb injury. First of all the Angels pitching gotten pretty good pitching especially from their bullpen. Closer Bud Norris has continued to be strong going 1-2 with 2.59 ERA converting 11 of 13 saves. Blake Parker continues to be strong as well with an ERA of 2.01 with 47 strikeouts in 31 innings.
David Hernandez has also been great as a set-up man sporting a 2.57 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and one save. Parker Bridwell also has come up big in one start and then a long relief appearance last night pitching 9.2 innings going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA. A newcomer to the bullpen who has been stellar is 23-year old Keynan Middleton a 2-0 record and a 2.65 ERA all of these pitchers have kept the Angels in many games and allowed them to be able to fight back.
The offense has also been coming around like Andrelton Simmons as well as Danny Espinosa, Kole Calhoun and Cameron Maybin. The biggest addition has been Eric Young Jr. He has single-handedly sparked the Angels team in many ways.
Last night was a microcosm of what Young Jr. has done for the team. Young Jr. went 2 for 3 with a run scored and driving in one RBI with a stolen base. Defensively Young Jr. made two diving catches and also threw out a runner at home. Bridwell also pitched well last night going 3.2 innings giving up one unearned run and holding the Yankees down after coming in for Matt Shoemaker who went down with an injury in the fourth inning.
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Maybin also has played well recently stealing bases and setting the table for the middle of the order as he has raised his batting average to .260 and has also stolen 20 bases. Kole Calhoun has also started to come around as he has raised his batting average from .180 to .263 hitting three homers and 13 RBI’s with the 20 stolen bases.
Simmons has also played really well from .231 batting average to .281 in the past month. Simmons has seven homers with 30 RBI’s and he has also stolen 10 bases. Plus Simmons is great in the field. Last night hit one of his biggest home runs as an Angel crushing a two-run blow to left from his knee to give the Angels a 7-5 series clinching victory.
Middleton pitched well in Tuesday’s game escaping a bases-loaded one out jam in the 11th inning keeping the score tied and allowing the Angels to win it in the bottom, of the inning.
So with all of these players coming on for the Angels once Mike Trout comes back the team should be even stronger and be able to make a strong run for a playoff berth. We will see what happens.