After going on a hot streak heading into the All-Star Break, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had a chance to get over the .500 mark or at least just reach the .500 mark and all they had to do was go on the road for five games and comeback with a winning record for those five games. The five games were against the struggling Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners.
Seemed easy enough for the Angels right? Especially after seeing the resurgence of Josh Hamilton and the team as a whole. Well, somehow the Angels were able to revert back to the lost Angels of earlier this season and came back home with a 1-4 record and fell back to five games under .500 once again. The Angels once again found a way to disappoint and come up short.
There comes a time when one has to say that it is all too late for the Angels to make the kind of comeback they nearly pulled off a year ago. The calendar is winding down as we hit the halfway mark of the season. What once looked like the Angels finally started clicking on all cylinders, now looks like it will just be one roller-coaster of a season.
It all started when the Angels visited Wrigley Field on Tuesday to take on the Cubs. The Angels looked like a team that never got off the plane as the Cubs smashed five huge home runs, four of which Angels starter Joe Blanton allowed in five innings pitched. Blanton was coming off a couple of strong starts against the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a different story against the Cubs and the Angels fell 7-2.
The following night, the Angels repaid the favor against the Cubs and just crushed the cover off the ball for five home runs of their own. Albert Pujols and Hamilton showed the potential the Angels saw when they put both in the same lineup as they hit back-to-back home runs for the first time this season. It was Hamilton’s second home run of the game as he looked to continue his recent resurgence.
Well then they went to Seattle and the offense just went M.I.A. in the three game series as Hamilton also struggled in the three games and ended up with five strikeouts on the weekend to drop his batting average to .224. it was as if the Angels used up all their runs for their road trip against the Cubs as they were only able to score a total of six runs in three games against the Mariners after scoring 15 against the Cubs in two games.
Ex-Angel Joe Saunders dominated the Angels on Friday for the 8-3 victory as Angel’s starter Jerome Williams struggled to get anything going on the night. The following night, on Saturday, it was a match-up of Aces as Angels; Ace Jered Weaver was out-duel by Mariners’ pitcher Felix Hernandez in a 6-0 victory for the Mariners. Then on Sunday, the Mariners finished off the sweep as, despite Blanton’s strong outing, All-Star Hisashi Iwakuma defeated the Angels 4-3 with a seven inning, seven strikeout performance.
Now, the Angels will be faced with a hard choice going into the July 31 trade deadline; are they buyers or sellers? If things keep going up-and-down, the Angels will have no choice then to possibly just stand pat and try again next year. If they decide to sell, then center-fielder Peter Bourjos and first-baseman Mark Trumbo might be their biggest trading assets to recoup a few prospects to help them down the line. If they decide to buy then their biggest need is pitching, either starting or bullpen and will maybe put Bourjos out there to see what team bites. The Cubs’ Matt Garza and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee might seem as possible fits as both teams are looking for a young center-fielder of the future.
Any decision the Angels make, one thing is for sure, strap on your seatbelts as they will continue to take you on one wild roller-coaster ride.