To be the best you have to beat the best
Are the Angels finally gelling together as a team? Since the beginning of the season people have criticized this team for their lack of chemistry, especially in the batting order. Early in the first month it was easy to see why people felt so; nothing was clicking with the team, only one or two guys would be hitting at a time and other than that we’d see a flailing lineup.
But slowly the pieces came together; Kole Calhoun starting getting his boom under him, David Fletcher showed the true value of grit and hustle, Tommy La Stella began playing far over his head, even Albert Pujols has been contributing big time to the offense.
I’ve been saying since before the season started, this is a young team and it’s going to take some time for them to truly start gelling together. It’s tough to stomach this at first when you play in one of the best divisions in baseball with other young teams who have had multiple seasons to gel together and establish their chemistry.
The Angels aren’t just putting together a young lineup, they’re bringing in young coaching to lead the way. Even though the team has been coming together it still isn’t 100% there. The Angels have Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton on the way back from injury, but that isn’t going to do anything for them in this Mexico series.
The Angels have looked so much more like an actual ball club over the last week than they have at any other point in the first month of the season. This Astros series will be a true test of how finely tuned the working parts of the club are. Will the starting pitching be able to quell the dangerous Astros lineup? Will the Angels hitters be able to tag Wade Miley and Justin Verlander with enough runs to secure a win?
There are still so many lingering questions left for this ballclub to answer, and while I don’t expect those answers to come over the course of this two game series it should become much clearer just how close to contention this team really is.
Will they get swept and be forced to return to a more realistic outlook on the state of the team? Will they battle the Astros back each and every inning and show that they’re ready to fight tooth and nail for wins? Will they sweep the Astros and show the world that this team is far more than what every pundit with an opinion to share has claimed they are?
This is going to be a critical weekend for the Angels, but with the momentum they’ve amassed over the last week the opportunities for success will be more than plentiful against the Houston Astros.