Angels Prep For August Gauntlet Full Of American League Contenders

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are hoping the month of August will be a time to rediscover themselves by putting their worst stretch in two years behind them.

The Angels rallied from a three-run deficit to fight off the Cleveland Indians, 5-4, this past Monday night, ending a six-game losing streak that represented their longest since the 2013 season. The win also helped them preserve a two-game lead over the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card chase, while maintaining their standing just below the Houston Astros for first-place in the AL West division.

For the remainder of the month, the Angels will see nothing but fellow contenders on their schedule, consisting of the Indians, Chicago White Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals. Considering all of those teams currently reside in the playoff hunt, with most gunning for Anaheim’s current spot atop the Wild Card standings, this could be the most crucial stretch of the year for the Halos.

The most critical of those series might be their meeting with the Blue Jays at the end of the month. Like the Angels, Toronto currently has ownership of a Wild Card spot, but after their big trade deadline acquisitions in garnering the services of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, they just might soar past Anaheim into the top slot in the coming weeks. In addition, this could potentially be a preview of the AL Wild Card game, in which both Wild Card teams square off to see who advances into the American League Divisional Series.

Thus, even if you don’t support either of these two clubs, you might want to catch this series when it commences on August 21 for the highly-entertaining baseball that will surely be on display. For out-of-town fans interested in catching this playoff preview, there are cheap Anaheim flights from through a variety of major airline carriers. Furthermore, Hipmunk sports numerous affordable Anaheim hotel listings, starting from $55, to truly make it into a destination baseball vacation.

The Angels have been paced all year by their offense, specifically All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout, who is hitting .310 with 32 home runs and 68 RBI. In addition, the Angels have also benefited from nice seasons from resurgent veteran Albert Pujols (.257, 30 HRs, 66 RBI) and gritty youngster Kole Calhoun (.281, 14 HRs, 58 RBI) in being able to put a crooked number on the scoreboard on most nights.

The thing that makes Anaheim so dangerous over these final two months, however, just might be their improved starting pitching. Youngsters Andrew Heaney and Matt Shoemaker have blossomed over the past several weeks, while veteran Opening Day starter Jered Weaver is expected to return from the disabled list very soon. Once the Angels have everything clicking, they could very well be the AL’s representative in the World Series this season.