This is where the Angels really need to turn on the after burners and go wild on the Seattle Mariners. The Angels are only 2.5 games back from the 2nd Wild Card spot and depending on how this series goes they could be nipping at the heels of that 2nd spot if not holding it to themselves.
This is a very important series for the Angels as this team has spent far too much time dawdling between competitive streaks and mediocrity. This is absolutely not a point in time for the Angels to slow down.
This series in Seattle can prove to be a turning point for the Angels season. A point where they can go from constantly coming up short competitively to showing they are a team in it for the long haul.
If the Angels falter in this series they’ll still have plenty of time to make up for whatever momentum they lose, but at the same time it’s getting a little too deep into the season for this time to wobble between being on and being off. What exactly can the Angels do to keep the fires hot?
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It’s always easier said than done, but consistent starting pitching is something that will take them, and keep them, over the top. Andrew Heaney just completed his first start of the season and pitched 5 innings of two run ball with 8 K’s against the Texas Rangers. That’s as fine a starting point for the rest of his season as any, now we just have to see a slight improvement on that and the Angels will be golden.
Even if he pitches just another 5 innings that would be great, but if we can see anywhere from 6-7 innings of the same quality that he showed in his last start the Angels will have no real reason to lose (even though they always find ways to drop winnable games).
Aside from Felix Pena, who has been as solid as you can ask for from a spot starter, Tyler Skaggs offers the most uncertainty going into this series. Is he going to be near-ace material? Is he going to falter and allow the Mariners to walk all over him?
The problem with Skaggs is his mental game; whatever is happening in his head is hurting him on the mound big time. I’m no sports psychologist but it seems to me that there is far too much pressure on Skaggs to perform beyond his best each and every start. It seems as if he views himself as the team ace and is struggling to live up to that position.
The fact of the matter is that Skaggs is not the team ace, maybe if the Angels had more talent to offer him comfort in his role then he could perform like an ace. But as of now it looks like the pressures getting to him.
With the intensity of this series, I just don’t know if he’ll put up a quality start on the mound. Maybe it’s the slight pessimism instilled in me by being a fan of this team, but with how up and down Skaggs has been I can’t put much confidence in him as of right now.
Griffin Canning is killing it though.