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LA Angels: Angels fans need to not worry and have confidence in team

Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The 2020 season has been a struggle for the Los Angeles Angels, but fans shouldn’t lose hope just yet.

We are already almost three week into the shortened baseball season and the Angels find themselves with a record of 7-12 and 6 games back in the AL West. While fans have already pointed out the teams struggles, there are some promising points that may help see the team turn things around.

The Angels’ offense is getting back into it

While we have seen the potential of what a fully healthy lineup might look like for the Angels and the future of Jo Adell is being played out, the offense seems to not be having any more issues.

Anthony Rendon appears to be getting back into the swing of things. After a slow start, he enjoyed a strong series Oakland A’s as he went 5-for-11, with a home-run in each game of the series.

Mike Trout is only getting better as the season plays out, if that’s even possible in such a short season. However, in his past 15 games, he’s homered eight times with a slash line of .328/.377/.738 with 16 Runs Batted In. Of course we will never truly know, but since the birth of Trout’s new born son, he has gotten out of the short funk he was in earlier with his full focus on playing baseball now.

Shohei Ohtani is also among those turning things around at the plate. After hitting just .148/.179/.407 with two home runs and nine strikeouts in July, Ohtani has been a different hitter since being shut down as a pitcher. Since the calendar turned to August, he’s hitting .280/.400/.600 with a pair of home runs and five RBI. His attention no longer split between two roles, he’s been able to hone in on what makes him a middle-of-the-order threat.

That all fits in with the club’s recent change of approach at the plate. According to an article from Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register, Angels manager Joe Maddon wants his players to take a breather while going through a slump. In an interview before the Oakland series he stated “Right now the theme I’m trying to to get across is do less with more. You’ve got to find what works for you, and I think a lot of times what works, what they’re afraid to try, is less. Try easier.” From an offensive standpoint, the players must have gotten the message as they scored twenty runs in the three game series against Oakland.

The Angels’ pitching seems to be improving despite mistakes

Pitching has always been a point of contention with the Angels, and the 2020 season has proven to be a mixed bag. However, things are turning around in some key areas.

The biggest story for the Angels appears to be starter Dylan Bundy. In four games has a 1.57 ERA with 28.2 innings pitched. Working with Angels’ pitching coach Mickey Callaway has produced a notable change for the right-hander, as well as having good pitching relationships with his catchers, Jason Castro and Max Stassi. After being home run prone during his tenure with the Baltimore Orioles, Bundy has gone from averaging 1.7 home runs per nine innings to 0.6 HR/9 with the Angels.

Despite losing the third game of the series against Oakland, the Angels bullpen is improving since having issues early in the season. However, Joe Maddon made some significant changes that are paying some dividends. In another article written by Jeff Fletcher, Maddon discusses his most trusted bullpen pieces as he tells Fletcher that Felix Pena, Keynan Middleton, and Ty Buttrey are his go-to relievers at the moment. This should excite fans as it has been known that Maddon has  been having trouble on bullpen management. However, it seems he has been figuring out the problems and is using his bullpen in more situational roles. This is most notable in reliever Hansel Robles, as Maddon used him in low stress situations as of late and has seen his velocity back up in recent outings.

The series against the A’s was the turning point for the Angels

While much of this piece has focused on the recently played series against the Oakland A’s, it does have significance as Oakland was one of the hottest teams in the American League before coming to Anaheim. The Angels stopped them right in their tracks and were on the verge of sweeping them had it not been for a couple of mistakes from Griffin Canning in the third game. The offense was definitely there as they scored 4 runs in the third game, but Canning’s struggles were significant and the bullpen wasn’t as effective in the third game.

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However, this series proves to the fans and the team that they can go toe-to-toe with the top dogs in the division. With the Freeway Series coming back to Anaheim for a three-game set, the Angels will have another opportunity to prove themselves that they shouldn’t be slept on just yet.

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