LA Angels News

LA Angels Series Preview: Flight of the Blue Jays

By Ryan Falla
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 13: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels follows through on his single in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 13, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 13: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels follows through on his single in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 13, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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Mid-Season Splashes

The Angels are making one of the biggest splashes they have in all of 2019, offseason and regular season, with the return of 30 HR hitter Justin Upton. Upton will be returning to the Angels after missing the first two months of the season with a toe injury suffered in the last week of Spring Training.

The Angels offense has been improving steadily, especially after the return of slugger Shohei Ohtani. The Angels are 19-15 with Ohtani in the lineup and while that number could definitely be better it still shows the Angels performing above .500 after Ohtani returned in May.

May was a bit of a rough month for Ohtani as he was still finding his legs after returning to full-time MLB action, but in the month of June we’ve seen him raking to the tune of .321/.383/.679 with 5 HR’s and 14 RBI’s in 53 AB’s. In the month of June the Angels have been 8-6 with Ohtani in the lineup.

An 8-6 level of performance isn’t something that will take the Angels to the playoffs, but at the same time that’s an 8-6 record in June without the Angels being at full strength. They’re still missing star shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who may actually be back this week, but on a great note they will be seeing the return of Justin Upton in a much-needed power hitting role.

The Angels 1-2-3 has been pretty stellar lately, but after that the lineup drops off. Albert Pujols is not a suitable cleanup hitter and Kole Calhoun doesn’t make enough contact to warrant a cleanup spot either. With the slightly more consistent Upton hitting 4th there will be an even bigger uptick in offense for the team than what we’ve already been seeing from the team lately.

Upton is coming off a down year that saw him hit .257/.344/.463 with 30 HR’s and 85 RBI’s. A slight uptick in numbers could be miraculous for the Angels, but even then as long as he repeats his ability from last year the team will be in a far and away better spot than they’ve ever been all season. The only thing that could take them even father would be a trade-deadline move for an anchor in the starting rotation.

Max Scherzer? Madison Bumgarner? The Angels have been making “big splashes” all season with multiple key players returning from injury, but a legitimate big splash for a pitcher via trade could really take this team over the top.

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