LA Angels Series Preview: Chasing the Rays for the Wild Card
By Ryan Falla
True Star Power
Shohei Ohtani may have started off his season a bit slow, but lately he’s been one of the hottest hitters on this Angels team. In the last two weeks we’ve seen Ohtani put together a .293/.348/.683 slash line while clubbing 5 HR’s for 12 RBIs. The Angels may shine with a little star power with Mike Trout taking the field, but nothing comes as close to the blinding power of both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hitting back to back in the lineup. Imagine how amazing this offensive would be if they had just one more big hitter in that star power sandwich?
Oh wait, it looks like Justin Upton might be returning soon after spending the last half-week undergoing a rehab assignment with the Angels Class A Advanced affiliate, the Inland Empire 66ers. I can’t say for sure that he’ll be back in this series, but he is awfully close to making a his comeback soon. It’s been great to see this Angels team improve piece by piece over the course of this long season so far, now we’re just a a few days away from having another huge piece dropped into our lap like it’s Christmas morning.
Would there be any offense in baseball capable of so much potential star power? Probably, but at least the Angels would be in the conversation with a core of Trout-Ohtani-Upton. We also can’t forget the highly underrated Kole Calhoun hitting behind Upton as well. Calhoun may not be the best at making consistent contact, but when he does he absolutely crushes the ball. On the season he holds a .242/.338/.493 slash line with 14 HRs and 36 RBIs and in the last week alone he’s managed to put together a sweet .375/.524/.750 slash line with 2 HRs.
Calhoun is heating up at the perfect time because if there is any series the Angels need to absolutely dominate it would be this series against the Rays. This is the Angels chance to finally pull the Wild Card as close as it’s ever been all season. The Rays are just 4 games up on the Angels which is pretty convenient given this series is four games long. I’m not sure if the Angels are consistent enough to pull off a four game sweep, but at the same time we just need to take it day by day. If the Angels can at least pull a series win against the Rays they could find themselves 2 games behind the Wild Card going into next week.
The Angels may very well be able to pull off a big win and steal this series from the Rays like they just did to the Dodgers, but it will take all the planets coming into alignment and invigorating the Angels star power to a greater degree than it’s been all season. Is that something that the Angels can actually accomplish?
Yes, it actually is. And we may very well get a great look at that in this series against the Rays.