LA Angels are seeing a lot of promise from young players recently
By David Rice
The month of August has not been too kind for the LA Angels. The Angels started the month losing their first eight games, but they have played better in the nine games since then winning six of nine.
With the LA Angels wild-card hopes fleeting as they sit 11 games out of the second wild-card spot the Angels are just trying make adjustments and try to have some success. The recent stretch where they have actually played much better has been led by some unlikely sources. Guys like Matt Thaiss, Anthony Bemboom, Wilfredo Tovar, Dillon Peters, and Cam Bedrosian have all contributed during this recent hot stretch. That is not to say that some of the big bats have not done their part. Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols, as well as David Fletcher have also been key during the stretch.
On Sunday Griffin Canning bounced back from a tough stretch of outings that saw his ERA ballooned over 5.50. Canning gave up only one run in seven innings of work and the Angels bats did the rest scoring nine runs thanks to four home runs including Kole Calhoun, his career-high 27th of the season. Matt Thaiss stepped up and got things started with a three-run blast to right in the second inning. Shohei Ohtani also hit his 16th homer of the season and Anthony Bemboom hit his first career home run, a blast to deep right-center field. Luis Rengifo continued to set the table getting two more hits and scoring two runs. Overall it was a good way to cap off the homestand.
With the victory the Angels took their first series since the last week of July when then swept the Dodgers in a two-game set in Los Angeles. One thing that is nice to see is that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani have broken out of their slumps as well as Justin Upton. Upton has hit four homers in his last 15 games and driven in 17 runs despite hitting just over .200 in that span. Ohtani only hit one home run in the last 30 games before hitting one Sunday his 16th of the year. The good thing is Ohtani is still hitting .352 over the past 15 games just with no power. Mike Trout has also broken out of his recent slump hitting .320 in his last 15 games with six homers and 10 RBIs. Finally Albert Pujols has gotten it going recently with two homers and 10 RBIs and hitting .260 in the past week.
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Upton and Pujols have combined for seven homers in the past two weeks. However, the story has been the pitching as the Angels have gotten three quality starts in the past five games. Dillon Peters started things with a solid six innings vs. Pittsburgh giving up only two runs with six strikeouts in his third victory of the season. The next day Andrew Heaney had his best outing of the season against the White Sox working seven innings giving up three runs and striking out six. Followed by Canning’s stellar outing Sunday where he went seven innings of one run ball with eight strikeouts. This is what the Angels envisioned from their starting staff this year.
If the Angels can get this more often out of their starting rotation and the hitting keeps up the last month of the season will be fun. One can only hope.