The LA Angels have had to face a lot of adversity over the last month between the injuries and the tragic death of Tyler Skaggs, but many people may not have noticed that the Angels are playing well.
The question is will the LA Angels have enough left in the tank to make a second half run for the playoffs. In the last month the Angels have a 17-11 record, which is pretty good considering who they have been playing. The Angels have had to play the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, St. Louis, Oakland, and Texas all of whom have records that are over .500. The Rays, Dodgers, and A’s are all in playoff spots at the moment.
The first 19 games after the All-Star Break the Angels could make a real push toward the playoffs with 13 of 19 games being against three teams with a combined record of 92-170. The Angels do also play the Dodgers for two games and the Astros for four games mixed in with the 13 games against the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and Detroit Tigers.
If the Angels can win let’s say 13 of 19 or even 14 of 19 they can gain some ground in the wild-card race and this might make Billy Eppler and his staff acquire a frontline pitchers before the trade deadline. The Angels sit 4.5 games out of the second wild-card spot and five games out of the top wild-card spot. There are five teams ahead of them in the wild-card race which is not going to be easy to outdistance all five of them. However, if they keep playing the way they have been as of late this is a possibility.
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Friday night the Angels played an inspired game in Houston as they beat the Astros and ace pitcher Justin Verlander. It was truly a team victory which has been the norm as of late. The pitching staff bent, but did not break throughout. Noe Ramirez pitched a great opening inning and Felix Pena followed with four strong innings giving up only two runs with five strikeouts. Justin Anderson and Ty Buttrey pitched two strong innings of relief.
Even though Cam Bedrosian did give up a two-out two-run homer in the eighth inning to cut the Angels lead to 5-4. However, Hansel Robles pitched a flawless 9th inning to close it out and the Angels had another good team victory.
On offense the Angels got four home runs from Kole Calhoun, Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons, and Mike Trout which provided enough offense to back the pitching performance and give the Angels a great victory.
These type of victories have been more frequent recently and it could be the sign of things to come from this team. It is starting to seem like the team is on a mission and it has been fun to watch, albeit bittersweet. As tough as things have been life has to go on and for the Angels the best way they can honor their fallen teammate is to make this season something special and do something that the Angels haven’t done in awhile.
If you haven’t noticed it already this team has more talent than any Angel team in the past five years. The offense even without Tommy La Stella is still strong as is the defense. The starting pitching is not stellar, but the bullpen is pretty good as long as the Angels don’t have to overuse it. Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Jose Suarez, Felix Pena + an opener, have all pitched pretty well recently.
The vacant spot left by Tyler Skaggs’ death will be tough to fill, but Matt Harvey may finally be healthy and if that is the case he might be able to at least hold down a 5th spot in the rotation. I know this is a lot of speculation, and what if’s, but remember we have a special Angel looking down on the team now and he is saying to them “We’re Nasty”. I believe this Angel team will make Tyler Skaggs smile in heaven. RIP#45!