Angels must win homestand to make the argument that they're postseason contenders

The only way the Angels can possibly climb back into the race is by winning games. It has to start now.
Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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This season has been quite the roller coaster for the Los Angeles Angels. Things started off steadily with the Angels hovering slightly over and under .500 before a great start to the month of June got them to as many as eight games over .500 and in sole possession of the second Wild Card spot in the AL.

A disastrous finish to the first half saw the Angels lose nine of their last ten with what feels like half of their team on the IL. They're now one game under .500 91 games into the season. The Angels are seven games back of the first-place Rangers and five games back of the final Wild Card spot.

A crucial second half awaits, and with the Angels showing no interest in selling at the deadline, the winning must start now.

LA Angels must win all three series in upcoming homestand to make the claim that they're in the postseason race

As if the first half didn't end with a hard enough schedule, the Angels will open the second half with some tough tasks in front of them. They have a nine-game homestand which is good, as the team went 23-20 at home in the first half, but the teams that come to The Big A are no walk in the park.

The team that has utterly dominated the Angels in recent years, the Houston Astros, come to Anaheim immediately after the break. The Angels do have their two best starters, Shohei Ohtani and Reid Detmers scheduled to face them, but the Astros are the Astros. They've taken five of the seven games they've played against the Angels this season, including two of three in Anaheim in May.

Following Houston, the Yankees come to town. There's no Aaron Judge, but the Yankees did get Carlos Rodon back and have done a fine job keeping their heads above water without the reigning AL MVP. New York is one of the teams the Angels would have to jump for a playoff spot as they're currently one game back of the final Wild Card spot. The Halos lost two of three in the Bronx earlier this season.

The homestand does get a bit easier to finish as the Pirates come to town for three games. Pittsburgh is 41-49 on the season and stumbled to the finish in the first half, but they've been playing competitive baseball for most of the season. They're also not completely out of the postseason race, so won't exactly be waving the white flag.

The task is simple. Win series, especially the first two. The Angels need to be making ground against both the Astros and Yankees. If they fail to walk out of the first six with a winning record, I'm not sure how you make the argument that this team can be in the conversation. There's too much risk with letting Shohei Ohtani walk for nothing.

I don't believe the Angels are completely done yet, but they have these next nine games to show fans that they shouldn't be counted out. They've dug themselves in a massive hole. Injured players will be returning soon, but it's on the healthy players to help claw this team back into the picture. Five and seven game deficits in July aren't insurmountable, but when you get there by losing nine of ten with the picture looking bleak, it's understandable to panic. Turn things around.

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