Timing is everything

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Updated: July 22, 2015

Carl Lewis once wrote “Life is about timing.” While this quote was not directed at the 2015 Angels, there is seemingly no better motto for this team to adopt and compete by. For most of the first half of this season the Angels were mired in mediocrity. Sure, Albert Pujols started to show signs of life and a renaissance in power and Mike Trout was being, well, Mike Trout. The team as a whole just couldn’t quite get hot. They couldn’t quite get a two-two and a half week hot streak going. Then, on July 1st Jerry Dipoto resigned as the teams G.M. The reasons were varied but for the most part it seemed to stem from a basic failure to communicate with team manager Mike Sciosia, a tension that had been reported on long before this resignation.

Looking back, it seems that this moment was the catalyst for the Angels. The Halos were 41-38 and were 5 games back of the division leading Houston Astros on the day of Dipoto’s resignation. Since July 1st the Angels have gone (12-3) and now hold a 2 game lead in the AL West Standings. A bold time to start such a streak, however, this is what championship teams are molded from. The best teams are usually the best at facing and then subsequently adjusting to adversity, and that seems to be exactly what is happening in the greater Anaheim area. But, back to that whole timing thing, we don’t want to give Carl Lewis just one shout-out. It’s no doubt that the Angels have been able to take great advantage of this perceived weak stretch in their schedule. Since July, the Angels have had series with the Rangers, Rockies (2 gm series), Mariners and Red Sox. It’s hard to imagine a better time to get hot, weather aside. It’s also easy to assume that this stretch of fantastic baseball can’t continue for the Halos. Last night, saw the Angels continue this stretch with a win over the surprising Minnesota Twins. After this current three game stretch with the twinkies, an actual playoff contender, the Angels will then host the Rangers for another 3 game set before traveling South to meet the Houston Astros. This aforementioned series with the Astros will be a real litmus test for where these Halos are now.

While one team enjoys the benefits of timing, there is a bit of a lesson in circular motion here. Those same Houston Astros who were 47-34 the day Dipoto resigned have since posted a less than impressive (5-9) record. Is it coincidence that this regression in record is due to the absence of one of the Astros top players? I think not. When George Springer went down with a broken right wrist, it didn’t necessarily take Peter Gammons to figure that the Astros were in a bit of trouble. Springer, a catalyst both in the field and at the plate was going to be a tough spot for anyone to fill. The date of Springer’s injury you ask, July 1st. Yep, that July 1st. Now, that being said, I believe the Astros have a very competitive team, even without Springer, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they are doing everything in their power to bolster their roster. With Springer still likely to be on the shelf for that upcoming series, (July 28th-30th) the Angels have a real chance to show their muscle and take full command of the A.L West. As I’ve said before, this division is really a two team race, and although the advanced statistics show the Athletics shouldn’t be as bad as their first half record states, the Angels can be in the proverbial driver seat with a series win against the Astros.

 

On a side note, Mike Trout missed last night’s game with heel soreness, which confirmed my belief in Greek mythology among other things. However, even without the monster fish the Angels walked away with a convincing 7-0 shutout. Trout’s injury seems to be of the mild variety and I wouldn’t expect to see him miss another game due to this injury, but even with super heroes, it’s never wrong to err on the side of caution.

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