The Los Angeles Angels have started to turn a corner in the final month of the season. This new sense of urgency for Joe Maddon‘s club has made for an exciting last couple of days. All the Angels need to do is beat out the Houston Astros for a guaranteed playoff spot. Or they can take one of the two wildcard positions which are currently occupied by the Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins. The Angels are only six games out of a playoff spot.
Five-Game Winning Streak
All it takes is a couple of hot months to win it all. Just look at the reigning champion Washington Nationals. Washington got off to as bad of a start as a club could at 19-31. However, they were able to turn things around and win the World Series. The Angels are currently sitting at 16-25, which is a very similar position. The only difference between the two? The Nationals were sitting on this record on Memorial Day with four months to play catch up. The Angels are seven games below .500 at the beginning of September.
Los Angeles has a chance to make a push at an expanded playoff tree where eight teams from the American League make the postseason. They need to stay hot because a four-game sweep of the Astros is not nearly enough to punch a playoff ticket. But beating them is a big first step as Houston sits in second place in the division.
Small Changes Making a Big Difference
The Angels were struggling prior to the trade deadline and ended up selling some valuable pieces. Brian Goodwin and Tommy La Stella are some big names that they gave up at the deadline to give the team a bit of versatility moving forward.
They have now been riding some solid starting pitching from Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heany. But don’t forget about Mike Trout, who has been hotter than the weather in Southern California. He hit his 300th career home run this weekend and is tied for the league lead in home runs with Fernando Tatis Jr. at 15. Trout is a phenomenal player, and everyone knows that, so let’s take a look at the rest of the outfield.
New Look Outfield?
Shohei Ohtani is in consideration for playing in the outfield as a regular everyday player. His pitching performance was subpar to be blunt. Keeping him off the mound and in the batter’s box is the best thing for the club during the final stretch. Youngster Jo Adell is starting to get his feet back under him with a .233 batting average, two doubles, and three home runs. These are his batting statistics over the past nine games, which are a vast improvement from his first 17 games. In his first 17, he hit .175, with two doubles and zero home runs. Justin Upton is another bat that is getting hot. Upton drove in five runs with two doubles and a home run this weekend against the Astros.
Joe Maddon can only play three guys in the outfield but can use four of them thanks to the designated hitter. Look for Maddon to employ a lot of interesting lineups as he is notorious for doing so in the past. If anyone can mix and match all of this talent it is Maddon. The only guarantee Angels fans have right now is Trout in center and Rendon at third, with everything else up in the air.
Embed from Getty Images
I'm just a guy that loves baseball