The Los Angeles Angels are, once again, underperforming and letting their fans down this season.
A lot of factors have affected their play, but they are running out of excuses.
These are only three of the reasons why Angels fans should be upset.
3. Mike Trout’s Injury
Mike Trout is still, arguably, the best player in the game.
It’s nobody’s fault that he went down with a Grade 2 right calf strain in mid-May, but that won’t stop Angels fans from being upset.
The expectation is that Trout will be out until after the All-Star break, and if that’s the case, the Angels will have a hard time fighting for a postseason spot.
Joe Maddon said there is still no specific timeline for Mike Trout's return, but said it probably won't be until after the All Star break https://t.co/INjxl91r1g
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) June 5, 2021
At the moment of his injury, Trout was batting .333/.466/.624 with eight homers in 36 games.
He still leads the Angels in Wins Above Replacement with 2.4, while playing 21 fewer games than the second-ranked Jared Walsh.
Walsh has broken out and Shohei Ohtani is truly special, but without Trout this team, as currently constructed, is going nowhere.
2. The Lack Of Quality Acquisitions
The Angels had a great chance of improving the team in the last two offseasons.
They had some money to spend and Gerrit Cole, who would have filled a major need that persists to this day, was a free agent.
The team was interested in the right-hander and it was said that the sentiment was mutual.
However, the Angels couldn’t secure him and saw him sign with the New York Yankees.
The Halos pivoted and then landed a very good player in Anthony Rendon prior to the 2020 season, but have failed to address the pitching as thoroughly as they should since then.
Dylan Bundy was fantastic in 2020, but has really struggled this season.
It’s almost inexcusable that a team with Trout, Walsh, and Ohtani has a 28-32 record.
Trout has been injured for a while, but he did play 36 games.
The Angels are in fourth place of the American League West division.
Even the rebuilding Seattle Mariners, with a 30-31 record, have a better record than the Angels, which should tell you everything you need to know.
1. A Subpar Pitching Staff
To be fair, most of the Angels’ problems can be explained by their mediocre pitching.
It’s baffling because the staff, as a whole, can miss bats, evidenced by its league-leading 11.00 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings).
But run prevention, which is, after all, the whole point of the game, is a notorious problem.
The Angels’ starters have the fourth-worst ERA in MLB, at 5.10.
Keep in mind that it’s a staff that includes Ohtani’s 2.76 ERA.
Cobb’s 4.24 ERA is significantly worse than his 2.55 FIP, and that needs to change if the Angels want to contend.
Andrew Heaney’s 4.76 ERA has been too high, but certainly not as high as Quintana’s 7.22.
The biggest disappointment in the rotation, however, has been Bundy and his 6.49 ERA.
The answer for why Dylan Bundy has struggled in 2021 could simply be command of his pitches.
In 2020, Bundy did a great job of elevating the fastball and locating the slider below the zone.
This year, the fastball and slider are catching too much of the zone. pic.twitter.com/GmcWBwslB0
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) June 1, 2021
The relievers, just like the starters, haven’t been able to do their job, as they have the fourth-worst ERA in MLB with 4.92, only ahead of the Detroit Tigers, the Colorado Rockies, and the Cincinnati Reds.
With that kind of pitching, the Angels won’t go anywhere, with or without Trout.
The franchise needs to take a deep look at how they do things, from offseason planning to player development, because they are wasting Trout’s prime.