As I write this the Los Angeles Angels are in the midst of a pitcher’s duel to complete the sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. Regardless of this weekend series, the Angels have gotten off to a rough start–which is not something they want when the Rangers are in their division. For a team that had one of the most prolific offseasons bringing in superstar Albert Pujols and the strong arm of C.J. Wilson, the expectations are high. Almost lofty if you ask me.
[Middle of 2nd. BAL 0 - 0 LAA.]
It’s not that the Angels have played the best teams either. They have played the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, and now the Baltimore Orioles. They have a combined record of 32-43 coming into Sunday.
The biggest problem for the Angels so far has been their pitching. With a rotation that includes Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, along with C.J. Wilson one would expect them to dominate the mound. Or at least not give up many runs. The Angels rank twenty-third in ERA by giving up 4.47 earned runs per game. That is not good when your lineup only averages 4.33 runs scored per game. It’s hard to be successful by not scoring more than the opponent (that’s my John Madden quote for the day).
[Middle of 3rd. BAL 0 - 0 LAA.]
As much as the pitching has been a disappointment, the hitting has had its part in the Angels stumble out of the gate. As a team they are hitting well with a .264 batting average–top five in the league. But they are in the bottom half of the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Those two statistics are very telling for the lack of production in the lineup. The most disappointing stat, however, is the number zero. That’s the amount of home runs Pujols has jacked coming into today’s game. His batting average is seventy points below his career and his on-base percentage is down a full one hundred points. Now, I understand that every baseball player goes through slumps. I am sure that is what this is for ‘The Machine.’ For a guy who showed up a week early to spring training, he should be off to a better start in my opinion. This team will start getting hot once his bat heats up. No doubt.
[Middle of 4th. BAL 0 - 0 LAA.]
Depending on the outcome of this game the Angels could find themselves being 7-9 or 6-10. With the Rangers winning Sunday the Angels will be either six or seven games behind the division leaders. And we’re only nearing the end of April. Texas may slow up a bit, but it’s going to take a lot of wins against the Rangers head-to-head to make up some ground. Luckily for the Angels they don’t play them until the middle of May. That gives the starting rotation and Pujols time to regroup and turn things around. In the end I think they will be fine and will earn one of the two wild card spots heading into the postseason.
[Top of 5th. BAL 0 - 1 LAA]. Maybe they have already begun the turnaround.
How do you think Pujols and the Angels will fare? Can they compete with Texas? Are the Indians better than them? Let me know on Twitter @Believelander.