The only word that can describe the first half of the season for the Los Angeles Angels is disastrous. The Halos duped us all — they took us out on a couple of great first dates, and then proceeded to break our hearts. Now sitting at 39–54 and 22.5 games back, will the Halos be able to restore the hope Angels fans had during the first couple months of the year, and salvage the season?
Since June 1st, the Angels have been hitting a combined .205/.273/.328 with a .601 OPS, which is the second-to-last OPS in the league in that span. If you’re an Angels fan, it’s been a nightmare watching Halo batters try, and piece together a rally. The team is averaging 10.6 strikeouts, and 6.4 men LOB per game in that span.
The 5-through-9 hitters for the Halos have a combined OPS of .552. The 1-through-4 hitters for the Halos have a combined OPS of .812. As you can see, very top heavy — and when the heavy hitters aren’t producing, the Angels are practically guaranteed to lose that day. The Angels are relying on their 1-through-4 hitters to be superheroes, and that’s just not how baseball works.
If you sat down to watch an Angels game in the first half of the season, several things are obvious: the Angels have no approach at the plate. Nothing seems to motivate them, and they desperately need a spark. Hitters are constantly watching fastballs down the middle, and consistently are unable to capitalize on drive-able pitches.
So what do the Angels need to do to even out the lineup? One can propose that Angels GM Perry Minasian peruse the market before the Aug 2nd trade deadline hits. Would it, however, really make a difference if Minasian could somehow find a way to boost the production at the bottom of the lineup?
The Angels are 22.5 games out of first place, and 10.5 games out of the Wild Card. If Minasian was able to pull off a trade that would boost offensive production, the Angels might be able to make up ground in the WC race. That said, you would have to hope that the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Toronto Blue Jays fall off — which is unlikely.
What Needs to happen
So what do the Halos have to do to put themselves in a playoff position? Luckily for the Angels, they will be playing more games against sub .500 teams than against teams .500 or better. So it’s imperative of the Halos to have a must-win attitude going into the second half of the season. The Angels have to win each and every series against sub .500 teams. We’re not talking series splits, we’re talking absolute dominance. This team needs a catastrophic change of events to have a chance at a playoff berth.
They need production from their 5-through-9 guys. Better at-bats, more extra-base hits. In a perfect world (aka the Los Angeles Dodgers world) it would be great if the bottom of the lineup could drive in runs. But all the really Halos need from their 5-through-9 guys is to get on base, so the elite hitters can drive them in.
This team needs motivation, better offense, and better cohesion. While the offense has been a big problem, there’s more to it. The whole team looks, and performs lackluster day in and day out.
Confidence needs to be restored to all the guys in the clubhouse, and a great opportunity awaits them.
The Los Angeles Angels will take on the Atlanta Braves in the first series back from the Midsummer classic. Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ ace, will be on the bump for the first game. Patrick Sandoval will follow, and Reid Detmers will start the final game of the series. String some hits together, and drive in runs. Also, if you can, give your bullpen a chance to get their confidence back, allowing fans to hope again.
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