THE SECOND HALF
Much of this may depend on the next three weeks. This is one of the easiest parts of the Angels’ schedule this season: 19 games, 14 home games. Mixed in with six games against the first place Astros and Dodgers are 13 games against the terrible Tigers, Orioles, and Mariners before the July 31st non-waver trade deadline.
Without starting pitching, it’ll be up to the offense to try and win games. The team is still a game under .500. Even a good stretch may leave them on the outside looking in at the WC, so it’s very likely that the Angels will be sellers at the end of July. Teams seem to have expressed interest in Brian Goodwin and Justin Bour, and Eppler’s shown that he’s more than willing to swap relievers for anything with a pulse and a hint of talent.
The Angels will be sellers, and we’re going to see a lot of guys starting who probably shouldn’t be starting big league games. The offense will improve, and at some point, the Angels will give Ward and Thaiss a chance to sink or swim. It’s unlikely that Bour and Goodwin last the season with the team.
The Angels have been an 80-win team the past two seasons. This season looks to be more of the same, but the shape of it is different. Unlike the bloated budgets of previous seasons, this is a younger team with Fletcher and Rengifo and Ohtani and Canning, one that’s going to be more financially sustainable in the long run.
In the short run, however, that will be cold comfort. They’ll eek out some respectability, but this is not a playoff team. Not yet.