After starting the second half of the season strong in a series victory over the American League West leading Oakland A’s, the Los Angeles Angels have now stumbled towards the bottom of the standings.
Things looked very promising coming off the All-Star break when the Angels were able to take two out of three from the A’s. Their top two starters, ace Jered Weaver and lefty C.J. Wilson, looked the part as they shut down the A’s offense and out-duelled the A’s strong pitching.
The problem for LA is that their top two pitchers are the only ones to be carrying the weight so far. The last time a starter has earned a victory other than Weaver and Wilson was June 29 when Joe Blanton defeated the Houston Astros.
With the lack of victories from the rest of the rotation, one month, the Angels went on to lose two out of three from the Minnesota Twins and then lost three out of four from the A’s this past weekend. Now, the Angels are looking at a 13 game deficit to the A’s and have fallen to fourth place, behind the Seattle Mariners. The Angels actually had a chance to get over .500 before the All-Star break, and now they drop to seven games under .500.
The biggest sign of the Angels possibly waving the white flag was when they announced that Albert Pujols will be headed to the 15-day disabled list and will possibly need to stay there the rest of the season as he has a partially torn plantar fascia, which he has been battling all season long. A typical recovery period for this type of injury is six to eight weeks and with the season going nowhere for the Angels, Pujols might as well just take the rest of the season off. With Pujols out of the lineup and Josh Hamilton still struggling at the plate, the offense will be unable to carry the pitching woes that the Angels have battle so far this season.
It just has been a truly lost season for these Angels as nothing has gone according to plan and now it may be time for the Angels to start selling before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st. The Angels desperately need to begin to rebuild their farm system as the big offseason signings and trades of GM Jerry DiPoto and owner Arte Moreno have wiped out any top draft picks and some high end prospects. DiPoto will need to find a way to build up the farm system or to simply vastly improve that awful pitching for next season.
Although the Angels don’t have many trade chips on the table, what they do have might be enough to bring in a nice haul of prospects and/or pitching. They have a young center fielder in Peter Borjous that might entice some teams that are looking to stabilize that position for the future like the New York Mets or Philadelphia Phillies. The Angels also have power-hitting first baseman Mark Trumbo, who they should trade now while his stock is still up before teams start seeing more of his swings-and-misses. These two young and cheap players will certainly catch the attention of buyers in contention looking to make that push to the top and will allow the Angels to build a team that will compete for next season and beyond.
For now, the only thing going for the Angels is the turnaround of Weaver and Wilson which gives hope for their chances next season and beyond as well the strong season of Mike Trout. After one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, season of any 21-year-old in history, Trout is now having one of the greatest seasons for any 22-year-old in history as he is batting a cool .321 with 17 home runs while leading the team in RBIs with 65, runs with 69 and OPS at .959. The future looks bright for the Angels, but for now they must get through the horrible season first.