Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!

Best Sweep Ever? Best Sweep Ever.

August 31st, 2014

Game 1: Angels 4, A’s 3 (F/10) | Game 2: Angels 2, A’s 0
Game 3: Angels 4, A’s 0 | Game 4: Angels 8, A’s 1

Runs Scored: 18
Runs Allowed: 4

YTD Record: 83-53 | 1st in AL West (+5)

Up Next: Tues @ HOU

AthleticsSeries4

So this is what total catharsis feels like…

Everyone, soak in all the endorphins you can. So far as regular season match-ups go, it’s not gonna get much better. This series had it all: fantastic pitching, clutch hitting, strange plays, near-misses, majestic home runs, base-running blunders, a walk-off, an #umpshow. Everything. And it wasn’t just a battle for first in the AL West, it was a late-season battle for first in the AL West among bitter rivals with a recent history of close contests vying for the best record in baseball. And the Angels freakin’ dominated.

The A’s offense was held off the scoreboard for 34 of the 37 innings in the series, including an incredible 29 frames straight between Thursday night and Sunday afternoon. This about this for a moment: Oakland hadn’t been shutout two nights in a row since 2006. The Angels just held them off the board for three games and change without the benefit of their best pitcher, and the only reason the streak didn’t extend to 31 innings was because of defensive indifference late Sunday. That’s bonkers.

My initial thought process upon feeling the post-sweep euphoria:

1) “Hell yes! Five games up, one month to go!”
2) “Why can’t this happen more often?”
3) “If this happened more often, would we still appreciate it?”
4) “Dang it, Nathan. Stop over-thinking this. Enjoy the awesome.”
5) “Hell yes! Five games up, one month to go!”

The Halos now sit at 83-53 on the year, a lovely 30 games above .500. If the team can simply break even over their final 26 contests, they’ll finish the season with 96 wins, which would be the third-best record in franchise history. If they continue to play .600 baseball on the other hand, they’ll have a very good chance of entering October with 100+ wins to their name. I really don’t want to count chickens here—I see you, 1995—but it’s extremely difficult at this point not to be irrationally excited about the next two months.

Spoiled Salami: The 2014 Angels’ Bases Loaded Struggles

August 29th, 2014

image

 

For my money, the best moment of the season so far came on June 8, when, trailing 5-1, Mike Trout took a Chris Sale pitch deep to even a game the Angels eventually won. A late-inning, game-tying grand slam is always great, but the moment was heightened because a) It was Trout, b) Sale is one of the best pitchers in baseball and he threw a great pitch that Trout hit anyway, and c) Hawk Harrelson was so sad!

 

 

Those bases loaded victories have been rare for the 2014 Angels. The Angels defeated Oakland last night in spite of their continued ineptitude with the bases loaded. In the bottom of the ninth the Angels wasted a golden chance to end the game, sending the top of the order to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, needing only one run to end the game. Promptly, Calhoun popped up and Mike Trout grounded out, ending the threat. On the night, the Halos were 0-for-3 with the sacks loaded, nothing new for a team that is now batting 20-for-100 with ducks on all the ponds, an easy-to-calculate .200. Considering the low batting average, the club has a relatively decent .275 OBP in these situations thanks to 12 walks and a hit-by-pitch. The slugging percentage is even more pitiful than the batting average, though — the Halos rank sixth overall in MLB slugging at a .407 clip, but with the bases loaded the slugging drops to .260. That’s what happens when you have four extra-base hits (three doubles and one grand slam) with the bases juiced in 120 plate appearances. If you weren’t counting, that’s a .535 OPS. The worst OPS for any individual qualified player this year is Zack Cozart’s .586. So basically, whenever the bases are loaded, the Angels are sending a worse Zack Cozart to the plate.

Angels Fry Fish, Hold Onto First Place

August 28th, 2014

Game 1: Marlins 7, Angels 1 | Game 2: Angels 8, Marlins 2| Game 3: Angels 6, Marlins 1

Runs Scored = 15
Runs Allowed = 10

YTD Record: 79-53 | 1st in AL West

Up Next: Thursday vs. Athletics

MarlinsSeries1

The Angels took two of three from the visiting Miami Marlins to cap the season 12-8 in interleague play and maintain a one game division lead over Oakland. Sandwiched between two critical series against the A’s, the Marlins were easy to overlook for fans and maybe even the players. But the Angels did what they’ve done all season: beat up lesser teams. Miami teed off on Triple-A pitching Monday night, but the Angels responded by winning the last two games of the series by a combined score of 14-3. An encouraging sign for the Halos is they have now scored at least six runs in three of the past four games, and all three games were started by quality pitchers. Prior to Sunday’s 9-4 win in Oakland, the Halos had scored 6+ runs only three other games in August. Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, and Erick Aybar are busting out of recent slumps just in time for a critical four-game set against Oakland this weekend.

Angels Lose Two in Oakland, but Hold on To First Place

August 25th, 2014

Game 1: Athletics 5, Angels 3 | Game 2: Athletics 2, Angels 1 | Game 3: Angels 9, Athletics 4

Runs Scored = 13
Runs Allowed = 11

YTD Record: 77-52 | 1st in AL West

Up Next: Monday-Wednesday vs. Miami Marlins

AthleticsSeries2

The teams with the two best records in all of baseball played a three-game set in Oakland.  The result was two closely contested games and one blowout.  Even though the Angels lost the two close games, they left Oaktown with a one game lead in the AL West and the Best-Record-in-Baseball crown still affixed to their head.  The Angels now have 33 games left in the regular season, seven of which are with the Oakland A’s, to win that divisional title and avoid the dreaded one-game wild card playoff.

Bittersweet Sweep in Beantown

August 22nd, 2014

Game 1: Angels 4, Red Sox 2 | Game 2: Angels 4, Red Sox 3
Game 3: Angels 8, Red Sox 3 | Game 4: Angels 2, Red Sox 0

Runs Scored: 18
Runs Allowed: 8

YTD Record: 76-50 | 1st in AL West

Up Next: Friday @ OAK

RedSoxSeries2

At just about any other point in the last 53 years, a four-game sweep of the Red Sox in Boston would have been an unequivocally positive, season-defining moment. But not this time. Accomplishing the feat for just the second time in franchise history is still pretty dang cool — the other time was in May 1962 –  but this series will never be remembered for that. No matter how the season goes from here on out, this series will forever be remembered as the One Where Garrett Richards Mangled His Knee.

The impact of Richards’ loss on the Halos has been covered ad nauseam on the radio and the Internet over the last 48 hours, so I won’t rehash it in full, here. What I do want to make a point of, though, is that the true weight of his absence probably won’t be felt until the regular season ends. Any team can survive a seven-start stint from Wade LeBlanc (and friends) over the course of 162 games. Where things are going to get dicey is when the postseason arrives and every contest becomes do or die. If Weaver, Wilson, and Shoemaker can continue pitching as well as they have in the last week or so, the Halos will have a fighting chance against whomever they meet in October. I am cautiously optimistic they can keep the good times rolling, but I certainly wouldn’t bet my house on it.

Weaver and Wilson’s first chance to step up comes this weekend in Oakland. If the Halos can win even three of the seven match-ups they have against the A’s over the next 10 days, they’ll be in enviable position heading into the final month of the season. Any more wins than that, and they’ll be tough to catch.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!