Thank goodness for September. There’s absolutely no reason that the calendar rolling over to a new month should have any effect on a ballclub, but for the Angels, it seems to have worked some magic.
Oh, sure, you could argue that it is just a coincidence that the Angels happened to have their first two starts of the month made by the two pitchers who haven’t been garbage for most of August. You could also argue that signs of the offense coming around started in August and just happened to come to fruition in September. You could even argue that the “spark” provided by the September call-ups arriving is actually non-existent since they’re really not doing much beside sitting on the bench.
Nah, it’s all totally because it is the month of September. September is great. Mike Scioscia will harness the power of September to carry this team on to Wild Card glory!
What’s that? The season ends in October? Hmm, well, I guess they better get some cushion by the end of September because who knows what October holds. It sounds like a pretty evil month if you ask me.
When Trout, Calhoun and Pujols hit, the Angels win
The Angels scored a whopping 20 runs in three games! I don’t think they scored 20 runs in the entire month of August (don’t check my math on that, just take my word for it). So, what changed? Well, Trout, Calhoun and Pujols posted a combined 13-for-39 with two homers and five walks against Oakland. It turns out that when those three hit, the offense actually works. Who knew?
We knew, actually. We just covered this. It is a dangerous way for a lineup to operate, but they just need to maintain their precarious balance for a few more weeks and they might be able to hang in this AL Wild Card race after all.
Scioscia broke Joe Smith
One of the unspoken side effects of the dreadful August the Angels just had is that all the short outing by the starters taxed the bullpen like they were Belgians (look it up). In particular, Joe Smith was ridden like pack mule. He missed over a week at the start of the month due to arm issues which Scioscia took so seriously that when he came back on August 12th, Smith would pitch six times from that day through August 19th. That’s six appearances in nine days, including four days in a row at the end of that stretch.
He actually pitched well in that span, but in the six appearances he’s made since he was actually allowed to rest included three games where he allowed runs and two homers allowed. This is from a guy that had allowed just one homer all season and allowed runs in just seven appearances prior to August 23rd.
Maybe it is the arm problems acting up again. Maybe he’s just exhausted from working so hard in mid-August. Probably it is a combination of both.