LOS ANGELES ANGELS – 2017 BY THE NUMBERS:
Final Record: 80-82, second place in the American League West, 21 games behind the Houston Astros
Longest Winning Streak: SIX, August 8-13
Longest Losing Streak: SIX (twice), April 12-17, September 17-23
Mike Trout, CF – .306 average, 33 HR, 72 RBI
Andrelton Simmons, SS – .278 average, 14 HR, 69 RBI, 164 hits, 38 doubles
Albert Pujols, DH – .242 average, 23 home runs, 101 RBI
Parker Bridwell: 10-3, 3.64 ERA
J.C. Ramirez: 11-10, 4.15 ERA, 145 strikeouts
Ricky Nolasco: 143 strikeouts
Bud Norris: 19 saves
Highlights from the Angels’ final game of 2017: a 6-2 win over the Mariners at Angel Stadium on October 1st. Courtesy of YouTube.
It looks like I was dead-on right when in an earlier article on this site, I predicted that these Angels wouldn’t make the postseason due to the lack of enough effective pitching.
But as those Halos ended the season by taking two of three from the Seattle Mariners, including a 6-2 win in Game #162, I can’t help but see the silver linings.
Such as Bridwell’s performance on the mound; the rookie started the season in the minors yet showed consistency and won ten games in “The Show”, which is a sign that things just may be looking up for that beleaguered staff’s future.
Simmons had the season of his life not only at shortstop with his usual dazzling play, but with the bat as well.
Baseball’s Superman – also known as Mike Trout – encountered some Kryptonite in the form of a torn thumb ligament suffered in Tampa in June, but came back to be his usual best player in the game self;
I think the Angels would be heading for the Bronx to play the New York Yankees in the Wild Card game right now if were not for that injury.
And despite his clearly not being the hitter he was as a St. Louis Cardinal, Pujols added to his Hall of Fame resume quite nicely as his 614 home runs and 1,918 RBIs solidified him in the top ten all-time lists in both categories,
Not to mention putting him among the company of legendary icons such as Babe Ruth, Henry Aaron and Willie Mays.
Mike Trout sporting, in my opinion, the ugliest jersey in the American League. Photo courtesy of rosterresource.com
As For How The Angels Can Make 2018 Better Than 2017:
Manager Mike Scioscia and GM Billy Eppler are both talking about upgrading the hitting, but you know what?
I know they are long aware of this, but I’ll say it anyway:
If you don’t have good pitching, you don’t have a good team.
It’s pitching that those Halos need, pitching that’s effective with a legitimate ace and guys whose arms won’t break down after two or three months.
Now that Josh Hamilton’s hugely overpriced contract is finally off the books, owner Arte Moreno can finally open his wallet and spend some free agent money on some pitchers.
Until that happens, I don’t see the Angels being that much better.
Some other things that red-clad Orange County neighbor of Disneyland can do to improve next season:
1. Keep Justin Upton. Though Cameron Maybin did a decent job in left field, Upton is such a big upgrade that it’s not even funny.
2. Make a commitment to C. J. Cron at first base. That’s the heir to Pujols at that position. He provides stability and has some pop, and those Angels need to stop jerking him around, sending him down to the minors every time he slumps, and give him a long-term deal.
3. (most important) GET RID OF THOSE UGLY RED CAPS AND JERSEYS – ESPECIALLY THOSE HORRIBLE RED ALTERNATIVE TOPS THAT THEY WEAR FAR TOO MUCH – AND GO BACK TO THE UNIFORMS THAT WERE WORN IN THE 1980s AND EARLY 90s!
As I wrap things up on this team, Angels fans should understand that it’s going to take a while before their beloved Halos approach the level of baseball’s elite teams, including their blue-clad neighbors who play their games roughly thirty miles up I-5.
But the fact that they won eighty games and were contenders for a wild card until the last week, despite their lack of pitching, is deserving of respect from me.
And if they burn those caps and jerseys, I’d respect them even more.
Until the pitchers and catchers report in February in Tempe, AZ…