Before Monday’s games, the Los Angeles Angels are 62-64, with a three-game losing streak and their dreams of making the postseason slowly vanishing.
The American League West division is almost impossible at this point, as they are 12 games behind the Houston Astros, in fourth place.
There is, however, a tiny chance that the Angels can fight for one of the two Wild Card spots.
Right now, they are 8.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second spot, and 11 games behind the New York Yankees for the first one.
Of course, three-game losing streaks won’t get them very far, but the mathematical chance is still there.
Is it realistic, though?
The Angels Still Have A Chance, But…
The Angels have the great Shohei Ohtani, but they have not been able to be competitive in the tough AL West in 2021.
It doesn’t help that they have been without outfielder Mike Trout, widely regarded as the best player of his generation, since May 17 with a severe calf strain.
Trout said Saturday that he’s close to embarking on a minor-league rehab assignment.
Still no timetable, but Mike Trout is getting closer to his rehab assignment. https://t.co/7iGUMZlmQ1
— AngelsNation.com (@AngelsNationLA) August 21, 2021
He said that he is frustrated about his long recovery, and confirmed that he “tore it pretty bad.”
Unfortunately, there may not be enough time for the Angels to turn around their season.
The damage has already been done.
Unless Trout and Ohtani can somehow put the Angels on their backs and lead them to winning at least 75 percent of their games from here on out, Los Angeles will miss the postseason yet another time.
The last time they advanced to October baseball was in 2014.
Since Ohtani has been with the team, in 2018, they haven’t even sniffed the postseason.
Should Trout even return to what is shaping up to be a lost year?
Should the Angels just shut down Trout or see if he can come back this year? Imo it’s gonna be tough to make up that much ground with the lineup they have even with Trout back in it I see why his return is intriguing, but just think it’s a little too late sadly
— Ruben Ayala III (@littleruby18) August 17, 2021
If He Is Healthy, He Should Play
If he is healthy, he should return because fans deserve to watch one of the greatest players in the history of the game at least try to get his team into the postseason.
If he is not fully healed, however, the team might as well shut him down at this point.
He says he is completely over the injury, and while he may need a rather lengthy rehab assignment, he could come back within a couple of weeks.
If he feels good enough to play and give his all, baseball will welcome him with open arms.
Angels fans, however, should not expect a miracle when it comes to how Trout impacts the team’s already slim chances to make the postseason.
Not only will the Angels need to make a difference of 8.5 games disappear in around five weeks, but they also have multiple teams between them and the A’s for the second Wild Card spot.
The Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Seattle Mariners are all better positioned to make a run at the Wild Card than the Angels.
Even the Cleveland Indians have a better record than Los Angeles as of Monday afternoon.
Does it make sense for Trout to return in 2021?
Yes, if he is healthy.
He is hitting .333 with eight homers and a 1.090 OPS in limited action.
Will it change the Angels’ fate at this point?
Unlikely.NEXT: A Scenario In Which Angels Land A Wild Card Berth