July 18th, 2013
The first half of the baseball season was uglier than Randy Johnson’s grill for the Halos. The Angels tumbled into the all-star break losing 5 of their last 6, and getting swept by the Seattle Mariners. They currently sit 5 games under .500, 11 games back of first place Oakland in the AL West, and 9 games back in the wild card race. Things aren’t exactly going as planned.
Much like last year, this disaster starts on the mound. Only 3 teams in all of baseball have a worse team ERA than the Angels. Ace Jered Weaver missed nearly two months with a broken elbow, then needed another month find his game. He’s only 3-5 on the season with a 3.63 ERA. Jason Vargas got off to a respectable 6-4 start, but went on the DL with a blood clot. Tommy Hanson has been knocked around sporting an ERA of 5.10, and Joe Blanton has been abused more than a battered housewife with his 2-12 record and ERA of 5.53. The Halos tried to make it a point to fix their pitching after last season’s woes, but somehow found a way to be even worse this year.
Meanwhile, the offense hasn’t been the force that everyone expected. Josh Hamilton’s career is spiraling downward like that of Tara Reid. Hamilton is hitting a career low .224, and is on pace to drive in the fewer runs and hit few homers than he has in the last 4 years. He’s also on pace to strike out a career high 165 times. Albert Pujols has been plagued by a foot injury since spring training, and although productive at times, he appears to be on a slow but steady decline. Considering these two are earning a salary that collectively equals the GDP of a small country, their productions stinks.
Once again, the Angels start to the season appears to be what will kill them. The Angels tied their worst start in franchise history, going 11-22, before trying to play catch up. They won 8 in a row in late May, but then went on to lose 9 of 11 games shortly after that. Another win streak of 7 in a row, was recently halted by losing 5 of 6 heading into the all-star break. The hole is just too big, and the teams in front of them are too good.
The entire team doesn’t suck though. Mike Trout is having another outstanding season . Trout is 2nd in the American League in batting average at .322, and is on pace for nearly 30 home runs, over 100 runs batted in, and almost 40 stolen bases. Trout is arguably the best all around player in baseball. Mark Trumbo has another 21 home runs thus far, Howie Kendrick has been very productive at 2nd base, and CJ Wilson has been the teams most reliable starter.
The Angels are a talented ball club, that has been underachieving for a season and a half. The Halos used to pride themselves on being a team that relied on pitching and defense. Their pitching is terrible, and only the Astros have made more errors than them. Mike Scioscia has been known to manufacture runs, and play a very aggressive style on the base paths. Instead, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has handed Scioscia a bag of crap, that simply sits back and waits for aging sluggers to hit the 3-run home run. If the Halos are going to turn things around, they’ll need to figure out their identity.