Halos Daily

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Halos Split Series With Houston

May 11th, 2015

 

Game 1: Astros 3, Angels 2 | Game 2: Angels 2, Astros 0
Game 3: Astros 6, Angels 5 | Game 4: Angels 3, Astros 1

 

The Angels (15-17) wrapped up their four-game series with the AL West-leading Houston Astros (20-12) in superb fashion on Sunday. A one-hit, ten-strikeout gem from staff ace Garrett Richards was just what the doctor ordered to secure a series split and send the club into the off-day on a high note.

The four game set was chalk full of ups and downs for both clubs. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve dazzled fans and no doubt wore out Angel players and management for the better part of four days with spectacular play on both offense and defense. The home team answered in kind with superstar Mike Trout providing otherworldly value on both sides of the ball. The Astros came into the series somewhat slumping at the plate and continued to struggle in spots. The Angels matched that offensive mediocrity with Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta. This series really was all over the board, so it kind of makes sense that they split it down the middle.

O’, Where Art Thou?!

April 24th, 2015

 

Pitching and defense win baseball games, so the old adage goes. It turns out that hitting and scoring runs also helps. The Angels (7-9) have struggled at least partially in all four of these areas to start the 2015 season, but none more so than the offensive component.

On the heels of one of the most obscure wins in club history, a 2-0 win over the division rival Oakland Athletics that saw the Angels muster only one hit as victors, a feat accomplished only twice before in 51 years of Halo baseball, the men in red find themselves searching for an offensive presence. Outside of the incomparable Mike Trout, who alone has accounted for just about 20% of runs scored (13) for the entire team, the squad is mired in some serious slump-age.

Tied for 30th out of 30 MLB clubs with a .213 team batting average, the Angels are sharing dead last with the aging/rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies. It doesn’t get too much better in the on-base percentage department either where the Halos rank 27th, ahead of only the aforementioned Phillies and the offensively challenged Milwaukee Brewers with a team OBP of .277. This would be slightly more palatable if the power numbers were there, but thus far, outside of home runs where the Angels rank 10th with 15 dingers, the power metrics are ugly as well. Their .625 OPS is 23rd overall and their team slugging percentage sits at a dismal .347, also 23rd. The top ranked team in runs scored is currently the Toronto Blue Jays, who have already scored 94 runs, a full 30 more than the Angels.

Focusing on the Future?

July 2nd, 2013

The calendar has turned to July and suddenly the Angels are grinding out some tough wins. A perfect 6-0 road trip against familiar foes Detroit and Houston allowed the Halos to complete June with a 15-14 record, making it two straight months that the Angels have played better than .500. However, they still find themselves four games under the .500 mark, nine games out of first place in the AL West.

July 31 and the days leading up to it will be an extremely interesting time for the Halos. General Manager Jerry Dipoto certainly finds himself in a peculiar situation. When asked if he would categorize his team as “buyers” or “sellers” heading towards the MLB trade deadline, Dipoto dodged the question:

We are not a buyer. We are not a seller. We’re the Angels.

The Angels will soon be faced with a series of decisions that will tip their hand as to what kind of team the front office actually believes they have.  At this point, nobody really knows what kind of team this, or what it can do over the next 80 games.

Injuries to key contributors have soured what might be a much better team.  Jered Weaver, Erick Aybar, Peter Bourjos, Kevin Jepsen, Tommy Hanson, and Jason Vargas have all been bit by the injury bug, making it difficult to determine what kind of team the Angels really are.  Can they be good?  Can they be great?  Or are they just poorly assembled and incapable of being an elite squad?

Nearly every prognosticator, including lines makers in Las Vegas, believed that the Halos were a World Series contender before the season began.  Perhaps Dipoto thinks the club can get healthy, Josh Hamilton will begin swinging the bat, and the club makes a historic run into October. There’s a chance that things could go right, but it’d be a tremendous gamble on Dipoto’s part to head into August with 25 current players from the Angels organization and hope for the best.

Or Dipoto could further dilute the organization’s farm system to add a key piece for a playoff push.  The Angels have a depleted minor league system, and tapping further into it to add pieces to a team that hasn’t been at .500 since the first week of the season would (in most circumstances) be considered nothing short of crazy.  But is this team starting to find its stride? If so, would a bullpen arm, a proven bat at third base, or a quality rotation arm be enough to catapult this team into the postseason?  Maybe, but not definitely.  Rock, meet hard place.

This team has  neither thrown in the towel nor has it made itself into a force to be reckoned with.  A payroll that shouts contender, but an overall record that screams pretender.  There isn’t a clear cut route to take and Dipoto is probably rooting for the next few weeks to tell him something definitive about his club.  Keep winning as they have done over the past week and the decision gets easier.  Or continue losing as they have done a ton of throughout the season and that too makes the decision clearer.  Chances are, neither of those will happen and the Angels will play closer to the 15-14 mark they amassed in June. So at that point, what’s next?

Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett were brought in to shore up a bullpen that needed fine tuning.  Madson has yet to take the field for the Angels.  Chalk that one up to bad luck.  Sean Burnett, on the other hand, has been an enigma. He is close to turning into the second coming of Ryan Madson.  As in man-down, for good.  So does Dipoto rely on Jepsen, Richards, Downs, and Frieri?  Or does he sacrifice minor league talent for relief help?  Someone like Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox could be an upgrade.

Is Alberto Callaspo good enough at third?  An upgrade appears to be available in Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez.  Ramirez packs some top notch pop in his bat,  but is that worth the price of unproven talent?  We all remember the Greinke deal and how that ended up.  The 2012 Angels didn’t get a seat at the playoff table, and now former Angel Jean Segura is playing an All Star caliber shortstop for those same Brewers that could dangle Ramirez.  Oh, and let’s not forget that Greinke didn’t re-sign with the Angels and now pitches for the rival Dodgers. Ouch.

So you want to be a General Manager in Major League Baseball?  Are you sure about that?  Jerry Dipoto will undoubtedly lose some sleep in the coming days.  Is trading a potentially power bat like C.J. Cron worth the return of a Matt Garza or a starting pitcher of his ilk?  To the fans it very well might be, but how about to a front office that could very well face the music if this season doesn’t eventually pan out as ownership and prognosticators expected?

Don’t take your eyes off of this team yet. There’s plenty more to see as two of the best teams in baseball roll into Anaheim this week.  First a 3 game set against the St. Louis Cardinals and then the Boston Red Sox come into town.  A successful performance against those elite clubs would further hope for the 2013 Angels.  This is the route the Halo faithful hope this team takes.  No Angels fan wants to see Howie Kendrick finally win a batting title for a different team, or Scott Downs pitching out of the bullpen in a playoff game donning a color that isn’t Halo red.

Make it easier for Jerry and stay hot, Angels.

Game 51: The Battle for LA Begins

May 28th, 2013

CJ Wilson had a rough night on the bump for the Halos.

Final Score: Dodgers 8, Angels 7

Halos Daily Player of the Game: Albert Pujols (3-for-4, two 2Bs)

Game one of 2013′s “Battle for LA” did not disappoint from an entertainment perspective.  In a game that saw both teams combine for 27 hits and 15 runs, the home team Dodgers came away with a much needed 8-7 victory.  On the other side, the Angels had their eight-game winning  streak snapped and limped away from this one feeling like a winnable game had snuck away.

Your Move, Mr. Moreno

May 9th, 2013
Mike Scioscia hasn't had much to smile about in 2013.

Mike Scioscia hasn’t had much to smile about in 2013.

Arte Moreno should have known better.  This was never going to end well.  For the second straight season the Angels are off to their worst start in franchise history and the respected owner has no one to blame but himself.  The time has come for Arte to right his own wrong.

We all feel it.  The Angels’ season is slipping away, only six weeks after it began.  Unthinkable just a few months ago, but this team now appears broken.  A rash of injuries to starters Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo, Peter Bourjos and the staff ace Jered Weaver have no doubt contributed to the awful start.  Add to that the myriad of injuries to members of the Angels bullpen and on the surface it would be easy to blame health, or the lack thereof, for the grotesque 11-22 record.  Injuries are a part of the game, though, and teams with championship fabric overcome them.  This team clearly has not done that and there is a reason for it.  The fact is, fractures within the culture of the organization are mostly to blame for this mess, not broken elbows or pulled hamstrings.

Halos Daily

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