Will the Real LA Angels Please Stand Up?
By Vincent Page
The short season for LA Angels can be defined by two stretches of games so far. One very bad, and one very encouraging, which team is the team we can expect moving forward?
Over the first six games of this season, the LA Angels looked, well, pathetic. The club went 1-5 against division rivals in the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners.
The rotation was extremely inconsistent through these six games, with seemingly every starter having one exceptional start followed by a disaster or vice versa. And how little do we need to say about the offense? A combination of lack of talent and poor luck on batted balls contributed to averaging a puny 2.16 runs per tame. Even Mike Trout looked like an average player during this stretch, which is crazy by his standards.
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One mainstay thus far into the season has been the bullpen. The group has been elite nearly every time they’re called upon. However, Seattle did see them give up late-inning home runs that restricted any chances of an Angels’ win.
Now, in the past five games (4 against Texas, 1 against Milwaukee), the Halos have looked like an entirely different ball club. Obviously the starting pitching has been phenomenal outside of one horrendous start by Matt Harvey. Besides that one start, the starting pitchers have gone over five innings per game on average while allowing just 1.5 runs per start.
And after those dominant outings from the starters, the bullpen has been otherworldly. They looked like a solid unit over that first stretch, but they have been absolutely elite since the Angels came home.
The biggest story, of course, has been the offense. While they haven’t been incredible by any means, averaging 4.8 runs a game over the past five games, that will be enough most nights for the Halos. Mike Trout has been playing out of his mind, putting himself as the early favorite for AL MVP (again).
However, more importantly, the rest of the lineup is starting to heat up around him. It won’t be too long until teams begin walking Trout at Bonds-level rates, and when that happens whoever is hitting behind him is going to have to step up.
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However, for now, the Angels have had enough in the tank. In the first six games, this was an offense that looked miserable and was waiting for the returns of Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton to make them average at best. Now, they await those returns not to be mediocre, but for the power of Upton and Ohtani to make this a truly elite unit.