Angels double dip, Pandemonium in AL West

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Updated: September 19, 2015

Just seven days ago, the Houston Astros held a game and a half lead over the surging Texas Rangers, while the Angels were still trying to figure themselves out. The Halos were three and half back of the AL West crown and one of three teams competing for that second Wild Card spot. Fast forward just one week and seemingly everything has turned upside down. After a convincing 4 game sweep of the Houston Astros, the Rangers, solidified any doubt that any lingering analyst or fan may have had. Suddenly the team who was most oft picked to finish last in the AL West has taken a chokehold on momentum and as a result the division lead.

Meanwhile, the Halos have been somewhat forgotten about in this tight division race. Whether it be their inability to peak their heads above .500 (5-5 in their last 10 games) or their inability to score runs, the Angels have taken a back seat to their two rivals from Texas. Maybe its the fact that Josh Donaldson has been taking some of the spotlight from reigning AL MVP Mike Trout, and there’s no arguing that Donaldson has had a much more impressive August/ Early September.

Well in case anyone had forgotten, Mike Trout hasn’t gone anywhere, and he’s still a candidate to repeat as MVP this year. After hitting only one home run in the entire month of August, Trout already has five in September. In fact he’s already surpassed all of his August totals and theirs still a couple of weeks left before the clock on September runs out. If the Angels are going to be playing October baseball, then the resurgence of Trout is exactly whats needed at this crucial, do or die point in the regular season. Now, entering todays double dip with the Twins, the Angels are four and a half games back in the AL West race, however, they are just a mere two games back of that second Wild Card.

Speaking of that double dip today, one of the teams the Angels are looking up at in the Wild Card standings happens to be those Minnesota Twins. After seeing some explosiveness return to Halo bats Thursday night at Target Field, the Angels look to build on that momentum as they’ll play their first of two games starting around 1 p.m. It looks like Andrew Heaney will get the start against Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson. Heaney had a late meltdown in his last start against the Astros, but the kid has been an absolute dynamo this year. I know it seems like every series the Angels have been in of late has been their most important series to date. Well, this Twins is no different, and in fact this could be the turning point in the season for the Halos. If the Angels bats have found some late season magic and they can take three of four from the Twins, the Angels will be right where they want to be, in the playoff hunt. However, if the team continues to struggle just putting together a win streak, it could spell the doom of 2015 for the Halos. With a road series looming against the Astros, the time is now or never to reassert themselves in the playoff hunt.

In game two of this double-header, Garrett Richards will toe the rubber opposite Mike Pelfrey. Palfrey has had atrocious numbers in his last three starts, culminating with an 0-2 record and an 8.31 ERA. While Richards numbers look a lot more attractive than that in his last three, its’s his numbers against the Twins that are even more appealing. In just over 16 innings against the Twins, Richards sports a 2.76 ERA, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t have a chance to lower that total later today. With game number two slated to start just after 6 Central Time, it will be interesting to see who Scioscia plays in both games.

While the struggling Astros (2-8 in their last 10) try to right their suddenly sinking ship at home against the Athletics, The Rangers are at home hosting the spoiler Seattle Mariners. If the Athletics and Mariners do their due diligence and the Halos ride that wave of momentum that is the Mike Trout grand salami, Halo fans might be able to wake up on Monday to entirely different AL West race.

 

more to come @wtjefff

 

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