Angels return home, look to even score

Updated: August 17, 2015

Even Clark Griswold thinks this last Angels road trip was a disaster. After closing the Astros division lead, the Angels were in good position to, if nothing more, hang with the boys from Houston. By no means was I expecting the Halos to reel off 7 straight on the road, but I also wasn’t expecting the abysmal results that I did. The team managed an underwhelming 1-6 record, and potentially created more problems than they had prior.

First, they were swept by the White Sox. In fact, they were only able to manage 4 runs throughout the entire duration of this 3 game set. Sure, Chris Sale probably isn’t going to give up more than 2 runs, but the next night the Angels are shut-out by rookie pitcher Carlos Rodon, with help from the bullpen. Not even Andrew Heaney was able to salvage a W in the southside of Chicago. If there wasn’t already a grim look to this road trip, the team would now ship off to Kansas City and play the reigning AL Champion Royals.

Garrett Richards pitched pretty well in the series opener, and the team was finally able to collect their first road victory since what feels like the Clinton administration. This mere glimpse of hope to salvage the trip was to be short-lived as the team would round back into disappointing form. They would go on to lose the next three games of the series, and limp back to Anaheim. Matt Shoemaker, who has been abysmal in his last few starts, became the first casualty of this disastrous road trip.

Unfortunately, there’s more bad news. With the Angels only able to manage one victory in their previous seven, they find themselves 3.5 games back in the AL West. Whats worse is the Angels are now also .5 game back in the Wild Card race. The Blue Jays have absolutely exploded since making tidal waves at the trade deadline, and now have a comfortable 3.5 game lead in the Wild Card spot. The chain reaction of these events has set up the Angels for the most important  7 game home-stand of the entire season. If the Angels can take some revenge from the Sox, they can potentially make up some ground in the Wild Card race with a 3 game showdown against the Jays, starting this weekend. I would make the argument that the Jays are the hottest team in the American League, while the Angels are frost bitten.

We are already find ourselves on the other side of August and if this team has aspirations of playing in October, then a lot has to change and it better start quickly. Those changes need to begin tonight as Andrew Heaney faces off against the aforementioned Carlos Rodon. Rodon pitched a magnificent game against the Halos last week, striking out a career high 11 batters, but perhaps the Angel bats can figure him out the second time around. Im looking for Andrew Heaney to pitch deeper into the game, something he has not done of late. In his previous 3 starts, Heaney has not been able to make it out of the fifth, and if this team has a shot at winning, he should find himself pitching into at least the sixth.

Tuesday night, Garrett Richards returns to the bump to face the lefty, John Danks. Danks followed in Rodon’s footsteps and he also put up a solid outing, going seven innings. In fact, Danks has been quite solid in his past three starts, going 1-1 with 16 K’s in 19 innings pitched. Richards, who pitched well in Kansas City, could have a great chance to find himself back in the win column. While Richards has given up a few more runs than Danks, Richards has also struck out 22 batters in just those same 19 innings pitched.

Jered Weaver will get the bump and try to find himself in mid season form as he will be opposed by former Notre Dame product, Jeff Samardzija. Weaver has pitched well in his two appearances since returning from hip inflammation that left him sidelined for nearly 2 months. Perhaps with 11 innings under his belt, he can relax on the mound and find his best form. Weaver could end up playing the role of catalyst for this team, as it would appear that none of the trade deadline acquisitions will be filling that role. However, Weaver is a veteran pitcher who knows what it takes to win in September and into October. There has yet to be a determination on Thursday’s starters, so just check back for that information to be released.

Until next time, @wtjefff


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