As exciting as the Angels (8-6) have looked at times this season, they’ve had their struggles in other facets of the game, specifically on defense. The Halos retook the mantle as MLB’s league leader in defensive errors (17), while adding three more in Monday’s 6-4 loss against the Rangers.
It’s been one of the big differences between wins and losses for the Angels thus far as the team has committed 13 errors in their six losses. Yesterday was no exception, as Texas scored five runs in the sixth inning where the Halos committed two of their miscues on the night.
The first came on a ball that went under the glove of right fielder Jared Walsh which allowed a run to score, and another on a routine ground ball that was booted by third baseman Luis Rengifo which led to a run for the Rangers. Rengfio committed two errors on the night while filling in for an injured Anthony Rendon at the hot corner.
When the Halos beat the Twins 10-3 on Friday, it was due in part to the solid defense. Minnesota left seven runners on base, and each time they looked to get a rally started the Angels defense had an answer ready. Minnesota grounded into four double plays that night, each in the 5-4-3 variety which began with Rengfio starting the turn.
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It’s not the end of the world and I don’t think now is the time to panic, but I do believe the Angels will need to clean up this up if they plan on competing for the playoffs and beyond this season. Late in the year games will become tighter, and the teams that go deep into October are the best fundamentally when the pressure is the highest.
To put it in perspective we can take a look at the 2020 playoffs. The Rays committed just four errors in 20 postseason games, while the Dodgers committed eight errors in 18 games, as both teams competed in the World Series.
This double play by Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner is the type of high-level intensity where momentum can change on one play.
There will be times where the Angels offense will bail out the sloppy play which almost happened last night, but more often than not the law of averages will take place. It’s also asking a lot to pick up the slack in other areas, not to mention the Halos can become a legitimate contender if they become a better all-around team.
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Things should be a little better once the sure-handed Rendon returns, but the Halos still need to make sure their reserves can be relied upon when the time comes.