Just a couple of weeks ago, the Los Angeles Angels were in the thick of postseason contention. They announced they weren't trading Shohei Ohtani, and opted to go all in and buy.
In their efforts to make the postseason, the Angels traded away prospects in exchange for players who can help them win in 2023 like Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Dominic Leone, Randal Grichuk, and C.J. Cron.
So far, this plan has gone horribly wrong for the Angels. The team has gone 3-11 since the trade deadline and now trail the third Wild Card spot by eight games. They're not officially out of it, but it'd take an unbelievable run to get the Angels to the postseason. With a better deadline, maybe things wouldn't appear quite as bleak.
LA Angels lose two straight vs. players who were traded at deadline while their own acquisitions continue to struggle
The biggest player the Angels acquired was Lucas Giolito from the White Sox. The Angels had a clear rotation need, and Giolito was expected to help fill that void. It felt like a good fit for the California kid to return home and help the Halos push for the postseason, but things haven't gone swimmingly for him.
Through four starts as an Angel, Giolito has an 8.14 ERA in 21 innings pitched. A lot of that is thanks to nine runs he allowed in just 3.2 innings pitched in Atlanta, but Giolito hasn't exactly set the world on fire either.
He has just one quality start as an Angel, and that was when he allowed three runs in six innings in a fairly decent outing against the Giants. It appears great because of how much this rotation has struggled, but the Angels didn't trade their best prospect for his best outing to narrowly be a quality start against a Giants team that's 18th in runs scored and 23rd in OPS.
On Tuesday night, Giolito allowed four runs in six innings against the Rangers. He wasn't bad, but wasn't anything special against a Rangers team that acquired two of the top pitchers moved at the deadline.
Max Scherzer was terrific against the Angels, allowing just one hit and one walk in seven shutout innings with 11 strikeouts. Jordan Montgomery, another player moved at the deadline, allowed just one run in six innings with no walks and nine strikeouts. Scherzer has a 1.80 ERA in three starts with Texas while Montgomery has a 2.50 ERA in his three starts with the club. Giolito allowed the same amount of runs in that rough start in Atlanta that Scherzer and Montgomery have combined to allow in their six starts with the Rangers.
If the Angels acquired one of Scherzer and Montgomery at the deadline would they have pitched as well as they have with Texas? Probably not. What I can say with a lot of confidence is they wouldn't have allowed 19 earned runs in 21 innings of work. Scherzer you can give the Angels a pass for considering there's a good chance he wouldn't have even approved a trade to the Halos but Montgomery didn't cost that much for the Rangers to acquire. The Angels gave up way more for Giolito than Texas did for Montgomery.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and things can change but four starts into Giolito's Angels tenure he's been very unimpressive for the floundering Angels while Scherzer and Montgomery have played a huge role keeping Texas in first place in the AL West.