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AN ASSESSMENT ON SOCAL’S TWO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Unfortunately, things are going as I had expected with this red-clad Orange County bunch, being that they currently reside in fourth place in the American League West – where I had predicted they would be at the start of the season – and are ten games under .500.
Not to mention having just been swept by the Houston Astros.
Two bright spots for these Halos have been a couple of veteran starting pitchers…
Despite the pronounced lack of a fastball that can reach the high 80s, Jered Weaver has managed to win six games, one of them being a three-hit shutout of the Oakland A’s on June 19th.
And the Angels have received some desperately needed help in the form of a former San Francisco Giants star, Tim Lincecum, who after a year away from baseball scattered four hits and a run to the A’s in his return to the Show.
As for the other bright spot, BIG SURPRISE:
The Angels’ Mickey Mantle-looking super stud celebrating with Kole Calhoun during a recent game. Photo courtesy of halohangout.com
Mike Trout has been his usual best-player-in-baseball self, his average on the verge of .300 while not only leading the Angels in hits, home runs and RBIs, but also in stolen bases.
My big concern is if these Halos’ fortunes don’t change in the foreseeable future, despite Trout’s declarations that he is happy in Anaheim,
Because athletes want to win, if the Angels’ management doesn’t show a more concerted commitment to winning now, their superstar may well opt out of that big contract of his.
And would likely end up in Yankee pinstripes.
One thing that would help these Angels sooner rather than later…
Trade for Ryan Braun.
He’s on a Milwaukee Brewer team that’s going nowhere and will most likely be dumping their high-salaried guys before the trade deadline next month, and as the Halos haven’t found anyone worth their salt in left field, the former National League MVP would fit in quite nicely, especially with the bat as he would benefit Trout and Albert Pujols SO well.
And speaking of the National League, let me comment on the 30-miles north of the Angels’ club, the…
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The Dodgers’ Trayce Thompson being welcomed home after hitting a game winning home run against the New York Mets. Photo courtesy of tbo.com
A current six-game winning streak, including a sweep of the N.L. East-leading Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium,
Which featured a Yasiel Puig single that Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor turned into a “Little League” home run when the ball went under his glove,
Yep, these Dodgers are a hot bunch of ball players right now.
A big factor in their recent success is their bullpen, which outside of Kenley Jansen – who broke Eric Gagne’s all-time franchise saves record – flat-out stunk earlier in the year but have improved by leaps and bounds.
And outside of Clayton Kershaw’s (so far) season for the ages to the tune of an 11-1 record, an incredible 1.57 earned run average and an unreal six walks in 115 innings on the mound, other starters have likewise done extremely OK as Kenta Maeda’s ERA is a perfectly respectable 2.64.
While 19-year old prodigy Julio Urias has been more and more encouraging with each start.
He hasn’t been credited with a win as of yet, and his ERA is pretty high, but as he is barely old enough to vote he can and will only get better.
In the grand tradition of a little child shall lead them – children in this case – the best news about these blue-clad Chavez Ravine dwellers to this point have been their youngsters, one in particular (besides Urias, of course)…
Corey Seager, whose 16 homers and 37 RBIs lead the team and is the focus of a heightened effort the Dodgers are partaking to get him elected as a starter in next month’s All-Star Game in San Diego.
I know it’s a cliché, but the term “the future is bright” definitely applies to these guys.
Which is why I don’t expect management to make any trades to get big names to get that push toward a division title as if the season ended today, the Dodgers would be in very good shape as they would have one of the league’s two wild card berths locked up.
While no one, least of all me, knows what the next three months hold for these Dodgers and Angels,
Being a longtime baseball guy, I’m obviously looking forward to seeing how things unfold.
Angels future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols chatting with Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis before a preseason Freeway Series game. Photo courtesy of foxsports.com