One huge problem which costs the Angels games without a clear fix
The Los Angeles Angels sit at 20-18 on the season, good for second in the AL West. Having a better record than the Astros is always nice, but let's be real. The Angels should not only be 20-18. The roster is far too talented for that.
Losing happens to everyone. No team goes 162-0, that's what makes this game interesting. The problem with this team in particular is they continue to hand games to the opposition. Especially the good teams. That's a major issue, and it happened again yesterday.
Team defense is a huge issue for the LA Angels and is not easily fixable
This offseason saw the Angels attempt to improve dramatically from a team that finished 25th in runs scored last season. So far, we've seen that pay dividends. The Angels are tied for sixth in runs scored. Key additions like Hunter Renfroe, Gio Urshela, and Brandon Drury have all played a big role in the offense seeing huge improvements. The problem is, the Angels added offense in place of defense.
Last season, the Angels had Andrew Velazquez playing shortstop virtually every day for most of the season. Velazquez did absolutely nothing with the bat and had to be replaced, but he's one of the better shortstops defensively in the game. Gio Urshela was supposed to be the shortstop for this team but was moved to first base partially to get Zach Neto up, and partially to improve the defense at that position with Jared Walsh out.
Of the team's regulars, only Zach Neto at short, Taylor Ward in left, and Brandon Drury at second have a positive DRS figure. Everyone else at every other position has either zero DRS or negative marks. The Angels as a team have -2 DRS which is good for 17th overall. The only teams above .500 with worse marks than the Angels are the Orioles, Dodgers, and Red Sox. That's a problem.
In addition to that, the Angels are tied for the league lead with 28 errors. Anthony Rendon has seven of them already. Matt Thaiss has four and has been the backup for most of the season. Hunter Renfroe playing the outfield has three!
The Angels have allowed 195 runs which is the sixth most in baseball this season. The 159 earned runs they've allowed is tied for 13th in the league. The pitching overall has been slightly below average, but the team defense makes it worse than it actually is.
The team has given up 26 unearned runs already which is the most in baseball. The Giants have the second most with 23 unearned runs given up. No other team has 20 or more.
Take Anthony Rendon for example. How many great plays at third base has that guy made this season? He's had great moments ruined by those poor sidearm throws across the diamond or just straight bobbles at the hot corner. His seven errors are two more than any other third baseman in the game and is one shy of the overall lead.
The worst part about this poor defense is there really is no solution. Rendon can't be DH'd, that's Ohtani's spot. Can Rendon move to first? Maybe, but when Jared Walsh comes back Rendon moves right over to third. He can't be benched because his bat is too important.
Rendon in particular has been a good defender in the past, and the Angels hope he can settle in at some point. The Angels did not lose yesterday because of Griffin Canning's pitching and did not lose because of their offense. They lost because of Canning's errant pickoff and Rendon's inability to make a quick enough throw to first base. They lost a game earlier this season because of Matt Thaiss committing back-to-back catchers interferences.
Infield coach Benji Gil met with the infielders to try and emphasize focus. This happened before the Houston series. The Angels committed four errors in the three games and that's not including the Rendon play I just mentioned. This comes after committing five errors in the weekend series against Texas.
The team simply has to clean it up, especially against good teams. It's costing the team wins and is completely unacceptable. It's one thing to be beaten by teams who are better than you. It's another to beat yourself because of poor defense and lose games to those good teams that you should be winn