LA Angels Series Preview: Angels vs Diamondbacks (6/17/18)

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 14: Manager Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium on May 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 14: Manager Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium on May 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels dropped a three game set against what is seen as one of the lesser teams in the AL West, the Oakland Athletics. I guess that only means the Angels are also one of the lesser teams in the AL West.

As hard as the LA Angels play, as much as they try, it has come to the point where we have to wonder, is this team truly competitive? Maybe a two game sweep of the first place NL West leaders, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Angels just don’t seem to be a competitive team this season. No matter how often they change up the roster and bring in new players it seems the team plays the same exact baseball it has for the entire tenure of Scioscia’s career. No matter how high the team gets, or how much talent is stacked on the roster, things just don’t want to work out any differently. I don’t have to point out the only common thread between all those under-performing teams since 2002, but the fact is this team is two full steps below competitiveness and half a step above pathetic.

What looked to be one of the better AL teams to start of the season has fully devolved into even worse of a laughing stock than they usually tend to be. That’s because they showed elite baseball potential and now are nothing more than cellar scrapers. Things can change over the course of a season of course, but where they stand now is none too flattering.

A strong run against the NL West leading Diamondbacks may change their fortunes, but I’m not counting on it.

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Monday, 6/18; 7:07PM PT: Jaime Barria (5-2, 2.61 ERA) vs Zack Greinke (5-5, 3.87 ERA)

Tuesday, 6/19; 7:07PM PT: TBA vs Matt Koch (5-3, 4.09 ERA)

Jaime Barria has been the Angels golden child this season. No matter how banged up the starting rotation and bullpen gets he’s there to lift them up. His sub 3 ERA is a factor of the majority of his starts being 2 run affairs or less. He’s been the most reliable guy within the rotation next to Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney to a lesser degree.

Jaime Barria has already navigated the Angels through some tough spots, such as his last outing against the Seattle Mariners. He didn’t come out with a win, but 2 runs over 5 innings is a great chance to keep your team in a game. Coming from a rookie who’s having a world of responsibility thrust upon his shoulders he’s doing an incredible job this season. Lets see him continue his wonderful rookie campaign with a quality start against the 1st place Arizona Diamondbacks. This is arguably the toughest lineup he’s seen all season. With A.J Pollock on the DL things may be a bit easier, but the recently resurgent Paul Goldschmidt doesn’t ease any worries.

Zack Greinke, on the other side of the mound, has been top notch all season. Aside from a five ER affair in his last outing he’s been solid all season, but there is still the chance his ailments from last time out stick around for a little longer.

The second game of the short set features the D’Backs Matt Koch taking the mound against the Angels offense. He’s pitched to a 4.09 ERA in 66 IP through his third MLB season and just picked up his fifth win of the season with a 2 run affair across 6 IP against the New York Mets. Hopefully the Angels can outperform the Mets, of all teams, and put the bat to Koch and his stingy ways. If not I’m really going to feel the non-competitiveness of this team.

What to look out for

  • The Angels really need to get some work done in the AL West standings. It really bothers me that this team is constantly scoreboard watching so early in the season. It’s annoying and a bit embarrassing, especially when the team is a full 9.5 games back from first place. I know that’s something that can be easily cut down within a month and some change, it’s just a sad sight to see where this team is compared to the potential they flashed early in the season. Feels a bit too “bait-and-switchy” for my tastes.

Next: Jahmai Jones is an All-Star

Lets just hang on to the one thing we have right now, Mike Trout. He’s five games deep into a hit streak right now including three straight games with walks. He’s pulled his batting average up from .305 to start the month to .325 as of mid-month. It’s not like he needed to pull it up, but he did, and that’s the special nature of Mike Trout that makes him the best in the game.

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Trout also had a 4-game RBI streak before it was broken up by the final game of the Athletics set. Lets see if he can start another RBI streak against the D’Backs.