At least the Angels were able to avoid an all too likely sweep by the Astros this weekend, instead of the usual rolling over act. The bullpen came in and blew a not so great start by Jason Vargas, who left the Angels in a position to win the game despite a shaky afternoon. It's hard to imagine the Angels could make us feel any worse than another pathetic series loss against the lowly Houston Astros, but with Mike Trout leaving the game with a tight hamstring things don't look so hard to imagine. Things have been going downhill pretty fast, yet a Mike Trout injury might be the blow that pushes the remaining fans away from the team.
With the season slowly coming to a close it's about time Scioscia figures out a way to get the youngsters in the lineup as often as possible in order to either inflate their trade value or get them ready for a bigger role in the upcoming seasons. With Mike Trout looking to spend time off the team will likely phone it in the rest of the season. He is the lifeblood of this team, and if this injury turns out to be anything close to major I think we'll be seeing a very poor end to a very poor season.
– Vargas made his second under whelming start this afternoon after coming off the DL, though it wasn't entirely too bad. While he gave up far too many hits in the early going he was able to keep the Astros to 3 runs in the first 5.1 IP before being pulled out. The bullpen is the part that really blew the game, allowing 4 ER in less than 4 innings pitched. Vargas still has some work to do until he's back on his A game after his extended DL stint, but this start showed he was making small steps towards that goal. Unless he can bounce back rapidly I'd say his August trade value is plummeting, so it would be worth it to the Angels to use his weakened value to re-sign him to a team friendly contract. Hopefully he could rebound next season without any major issues.
– The hitting has never really been the problem this season, and today that was incredibly apparent. The Angels collected 5 runs off of 9 hits, yet the bullpen was unable to allow the offense to work themselves towards a victory. You can't keep taking a game and pulling it just a bit further and further away from an offense without that offense losing control of the game. The hitting is still in place, but the pitching is still a long way from where it needs to be.
– It kills me that the Angels are so terrible against one of the worst teams in baseball, but I have the distinct feeling it won't be the same come 2014. The main reason the Angels won't be making playoffs is because they can't beat the small time teams like the Astros consistently. Once they upgrade their pitching staff this coming offseason, a staff that can actually keep a sub-par offense quiet, then the Angels will see the playoffs once again.
Seeing as how he gave up the 3 run bomb that put the Angels away I don't see why he wouldn't be up here today.