With a 47-48 record, the Los Angeles Angels are fourth in the American League West, even behind the surprising Seattle Mariners and only ahead of the Texas Rangers.
Despite their mediocre place in the standings, there is an outside chance that the Angels steal a Wild Card berth come October, as they are 7.5 games behind the Oakland A’s, who currently hold the second and last spot.
The Angels are definitely not helping their cause, having dropped six of their last 10 games and failing to support generational talent Shohei Ohtani.
Sadly, even Ohtani is struggling right now.
The two-way star is slashing .167/.259/.333 with a double, a homer, and a 66 wRC+ (weighted Runs Created Plus, the average being 100) since the All-Star break, and has struck out in 52 percent of his plate appearances.
After tonight, Shohei Ohtani is 4-24 with 14 strikeouts since the All-Star break (52% K rate).
No, I don't think it's anything. Just reporting the facts.
— Frank Stampfl (@Roto_Frank) July 23, 2021
He can’t do it all by himself.
He keeps contributing, however, on the mound, where he shut down the A’s for six innings, with eight strikeouts, only to have the bullpen blow the game later.
It doesn’t look like they do.
The Badly Miss Rendon And Trout
Rendon, who was supposed to be Robin to Trout’s Batman, has battled lots of health issues this year and has put a disappointing .711 OPS in limited action.
He has been out since July 4 with a hamstring issue that has taken longer than anticipated to heal.
The latest reports suggest he could be back in late July or early August, but time is ticking and the Angels haven’t been able to cut the A’s advantage in the race for the second Wild Card.
Trout, meanwhile, suffered a severe calf strain in mid-May and still hasn’t returned to action.
He is already running the bases and could be close to beginning a rehab assignment.
He better hurry, though, because the Angels may not have a chance when he gets back.
— Michael Howard (@dirkjently) July 18, 2021
Walsh’s production, in particular, is badly missed, as he is batting .219/.231/.359 in his last 15 games.
Pitching Is Still A Question Mark
The Angels’ pitching is still a question mark, and behind Ohtani, there isn’t too much to rely on.
Patrick Sandoval has been a good find, as he has a solid 3.86 ERA.
Alex Cobb has also improved and has a 3.96 ERA.
The club needs better pitching behind Ohtani’s 3.21 ERA.
Other teams in the division, and even others in the AL fighting for a playoff spot, have much more reliable staffs than the Angels.
The organization can make a statement and try to bring a top starter via trade before the deadline.
It would send a message to Ohtani, Trout, and other solid offensive performers that may be disappointed by the lack of good pitching.
The Angels do not appear to have a chance at making the playoffs if they don’t address their pitching staff, and even if that’s the case, it may be too late.