However, entering the final week of the regular season, the Angels are looking destined to miss out entirely on the postseason, despite a furious run over the last month. Heading into today’s game with the Mariners, the Angels are five games back of the AL West-leading Rangers, 2.5 back of the Orioles for the first wildcard slot, and two back of the A’s for the second wildcard slot.
Sure, the Angels have largely shown their class after being under .500 deep into May and are peaking at the right time, winning five in a row and 24 of 33 coming into today, but an ill-timed slide in August could wind up being a decisive blow. Unless they finish strong in their final two series at Texas and Seattle and get a little help elsewhere, they will fall far short of the high expectations that they entered the season with.
21-year-old outfielder Mike Trout has been fantastic, and he enters the final stretch with a chance to finish with 30 homers and 50 stolen bases. It’s long been a certainty that he’d win the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he could well be the AL MVP, unless Miguel Cabrera puts the award beyond doubt by claiming the first Triple Crown in the majors since 1967.
And on the mound, Jered Weaver has been fantastic once again, posting a 19-4 record with a 2.74 ERA to date, with two chances remaining to reach 20 wins for the first time in his career.
Along with Trout’s excellent season, Torii Hunter has put together one of his best seasons and is on the verge of his first .300 season at the age of 37.
But a few players having great seasons doesn’t guarantee a place in the postseason. Just ask R.A. Dickey and the Mets.
But consistency elsewhere at the plate has been hard to find. Pujols has reached 30 homers and 100 RBI for the 12th time in 12 MLB seasons, but he looks set to finish with the lowest single-season batting average of his career. Mark Trumbo has surpassed the 30-homer mark, but only five of his 31 homers have come since July 17.
And while Weaver has been one of the best pitchers in the game, the only pitcher who’s come close to matching him in consistent excellence is July acquisition Zack Greinke, who’s 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 12 starts since his move from Milwaukee. Wilson, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana have combined to go 33-33 coming into today, though their records can be at least partly blamed on a lack of run support at times as much as their own struggles.
But the Angels are certainly not out of the hunt yet, and if they do get into the postseason, they undoubtedly have the talent to win the World Series. For all that has been invested in this team, an early vacation will serve as a huge disappointment, but they won’t be able to blame anyone but themselves if they do fall short.