LA Angels Series Preview: Mariners return in AL West Rematch
By Ryan Falla
Falling into place
This Angels team is finally starting to get in major ways, as I said before. A lot of people are saying this team needs to sell their pieces like La Stella and load up on prospects for the next couple of seasons. I don’t even know where to start with pointing out how wrong that is. It’s like most of the Angels fan base is turning into mini Jerry Dipoto’s with this incessant need to trade everything because it’s not working at the moment. That attitude is what put the Angels in a rut the last few years, the thing that has changed this team is Billy Eppler’s iron hand and saint like patience.
This team is not the same team that it was at the beginning of the season; this Angels team is growing into itself by way of bringing young chemistry on the team and allowing those young players to fall into place. Everyone on this team has slowly begun to slide into their groove over the last two months and those players that showed an inability to do so have been put aside. Bringing on Griffin Canning and Luis Rengifo changed the chemistry of this team big time by allowing Ausmus to extend the versatility of this ball club.
People like to be upset at Ausmus and pretend that the teams hot and cold trend is his fault, but the fact is that Ausmus is doing a great job managing the Angels so far. He’s shown a greater propensity for putting a lineup together than Scioscia ever did, Ausmus is not afraid to experiment and shift until the pieces fall into their place. This teams ability to adapt is what’s going to take them farther than many people expect. Ausmus is not afraid to make changes after giving players a fair chance whereas Mike Scioscia would just say “turn the page/trust the process” and keep forcing the same lineup together.
Things are changing fast with the Angels and the changes are going to keep coming. Depending on how Jose Suarez performs in his next start, when given the opportunity, he may be able to find a permanent spot in the rotation. Luis Rengifo is slowly coming into himself and showing off why he is the most underrated player on this team. In the last week Rengifo has hit .333/.400/.556 with a home run to go with it; he has a sneaky powerful swing for someone his size, his plate discipline and pitch selection has been improving day by day and it’s getting to the point where Rengifo is starting to crush the ball. He’s been the victim of bad luck and superb defense with some of his batted balls, but for the most part he has one of the best swings on this team.
Now that I think about it the Angels lineup has a lot of really good swings in it aside from Trout and Ohtani; David Fletcher, Tommy La Stella, Luis Rengifo, Brian Goodwin, Kole Calhoun (despite his mediocre average he crushes the ball). Everything has been falling into place for the Angels piece by piece and this series against the Mariners is going to show just how strong this team is with the pieces they have now.
And there is still more to come. The future for the Angels is brighter than you may think.