There had been talk that the LA Angels would be trading three to four players from their current roster in hopes of building for the future. Instead only one player was traded, reliever David Hernandez. So what do the Angels do now?
Losing reliever David Hernandez does not help the LA Angels cause. However, the team is still built for a playoff run if players perform to their potential. Sure there are some weaknesses at this point, mainly in the starting pitching department. The fact remains the potential is there. The Angel players just need to rise together as a collective group and seize the opportunity they have.
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There is no team that is just running away with the wild-card race. Despite their mediocre play a stretch of winning 10 of 12 games or seven or eight in a row is theirs for the taking. When you have a line-up with guys like Yunel Escobar, Kole Calhoun, and Albert Pujols. Then you add guys like Cameron Maybin (when healthy), and this year’s unsung hero Andrelton Simmons that is pretty solid. It is definitely a pretty good supporting cast on paper for the best player in baseball Mike Trout.
Unfortunately Danny Espinosa did not work out at second base, but Kaleb Cowart is starting to solidify that spot more each day. Luis Valbuena and C.J. Cron are starting to make a pretty decent platoon at first. Albert Pujols is starting to get hot. All of the sudden things are starting to look up.
In the end though it’s going depend on the starting pitching. The bullpen despite their recent struggles has an ERA of under four collectively and are 4th best in the AL. The Angels have found a gem in Parker Bridwell (5-1, 2.83 ERA) and J.C. Ramirez has been solid (9-9, 4.29 ERA) in his 1st year as a starter.
Ricky Nolasco while being inconsistent this season has pitched much better since the end of June (3-2 with a 4.20 ERA with five quality starts in seven chances). In fact if you take out Nolasco one dreadful start in Texas in early July (1.2 IP 8 ER) his ERA is drops to 2.43 since June 26th.
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If the Angels can get some injured starters back all of the sudden the rotation looks formidable. Both Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney are getting close to a return to the big leagues. Matt Shoemaker and Alex Meyer could be back by late August as well. Garrett Richards might even be ready before season’s end.
With this all being said this team is not dead yet. However, potential can be a dirty word and if you don’t realize it, what’s on paper doesn’t matter. It surely doesn’t win pennants. So if the aforementioned players start get hot it could be a fun end to the season.
In closing I think the Angels’ theme song should be David Soul’s 1970’s hit Don’t Give Up On Us Baby. The lyrics go “Don’t give up on us baby, we can still come through.” Don’t give up on this team, despite all that has happened so far they can still come through.
To use something more baseball oriented I will close with a quote from manager Lou Brown from the iconic baseball movie Major League. “We can still win this thing, it has happened before.” One can only hope.