The LA Angels were one of the most exciting teams to watch in 2017. However, the injuries to key players eventually proved to be too much for the team, and the Halos were eliminated from the playoffs on Wednesday night.
The LA Angels were not supposed to be here. After injuries to their entire starting rotation, a tore ligament in Mike Trout‘s thumb, and key depth players either injured or underperforming, the Angels should have been focused on their draft pick next year, and not their playoff chances.
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However, I’m writing this article with four days to go, not four weeks, or even four months. These Angels were something special.
Parker Bridwell. Blake Parker. Yusmeiro Petit. JC Ramirez. Bud Norris. Before this season, those names would be followed by confused faces. However, all of those players turned their minimal contracts into important roles and career years in 2017.
Somehow, the Angels made it 158 games into the year before knowing when their season would end. 46 comeback wins later, and the Comeback Kids of Anaheim are finally out of it.
In the elimination game, it was Blake Parker who lost it for the Halos. It was just as unpredictable as the Angels entire season. Parker gave up the home run to Nicky Delmonico in the bottom of the tenth inning. After allowing just six homers all year, it was Parker who allowed the walk off on the Angels season.
The Angels were never out this season. Seven runs down, seven pitchers down, seven games down. Only now, when it is mathematically impossible, are the Los Angeles Angels out.
All season, the Angels reminded their fans of 2002. The total team effort was reminiscent of the magical run led by the likes of Tim Salmon (Mike Trout), Darin Erstad (Andrelton Simmons), and Troy Glaus (Albert Pujols). The mix of youngsters and veterans in the bullpen, from Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez to Blake Parker and Keynan Middleton. These Angels were as close to the 2002 team as any other Angels team. The only difference was this time, players went down.
The Angels are not a team on the decline. With young talent spread throughout their roster balanced out by steady veterans, all the team needs is to have a relatively healthy 162 games. If they can get that, 2002 may be given a run for its money.