LA Angels Series Preview: Nowhere to go but up vs Rangers
By Ryan Falla
George Michael – Faith
Go ahead and listen to that song, crank it up and let your body soak in its meaningful vibrations. Allow the music to penetrate your brain and seep into your soul. If there’s one thing Angel fans need to have with this team it’s faith. The funny thing is, if you look hard enough, it isn’t difficult to amass faith with this team. The team has been slowly improving over the course of the season and while it is frustrating to see them constantly fail to jump above .500 the fact is that this roster is becoming more and more talented as the season goes on.
The lineup was pretty horrendous coming into the season, but after shedding Justin Bour and allowing younger players to play over Zack Cozart we’ve seen actual talent begin to shine in this roster. The Angels hitting is a far cry from where it was to start the season, the whole first two weeks was an absolute embarrassment until the Rangers came into Anaheim and the Angels shifted gears overnight. This team we have now is far more talented than what the Angels fielded in that initial series against the Rangers.
The big issue here is the lack of improvement in starting pitching. Yes we can blame Angels GM Billy Eppler for not signing pitchers smartly, instead they threw 20 million at one average pitcher (Cahill) and one who has proved his lack of effectiveness over the years (Harvey). What’s done is done, instead of griping over the failures of these free agent signings we need to look to the cure for what ails this starting staff.
That cure is youth. We’ve seen it in action with the impact Griffin Canning had as soon as he came up from Triple-A. His last outing was an absolute gem that saw him pitch 7 innings of 3 hit, 5 K baseball against the Royals. With the way he’s performed since his first game up there is little doubt that he will continue to build upon his successes, unlike most Angels starters now who stumble through success and build on failure.
It’s a slow road to a fully functional starting staff, but hypothetically the Angels can have a brand new staff going into the 2019 playoffs. The young Jose Suarez is on the cusp of bringing his talents to the MLB rotation. Patrick Sandoval, the lefty bulldog, is just a couple months away from seeing MLB time. Jaime Barria is trying to get himself back in order in Triple A and find his 2018 self that pitched 129.1 IP of 3.41 ERA.
The Angels are in prime position to fully overhaul their look by seasons end; a totally new lineup with a fresh-faced, young starting rotation. The only question is whether or not they’ll be in contention at that point in time. Seeing as how the Angels are still very much in contention with this dysfunctional starting rotation I don’t see what would keep them from being competitive when they get younger and far more talented.