One series down, two to go in the Angels’ life-or-most likely death homestand. While many left the team for dead after they got swept in Cleveland, the Halos gained one whole game on Texas to trim their lead in the Wild Card to 2.5 games. That number is small enough that it seems like it could totally be erased in the matter of a week, but with so little time left in the season, it is just large enough to seem incredibly daunting, especially when you factor in the Twins who are sandwiched between the Rangers and Halos. None of the playoff projection systems give the Angels a real chance, but at least the Angels gave their fans just enough hope that something good could happen. We all know we are on the cusp of getting Buttercupped, but at least the Angels season remains interesting for a minimum of one more series.
The plague has struck
Whatever tiny bit of momentum the Angels got from picking up a game on Texas in this series feels like it has been ground to a halt by all of the recent bad news about the general health of the team. Albert Pujols is going to be stuck at DH for the rest of the season because he’s got foot and knee problems, again. Matt Shoemaker’s now dealing with a forearm strain. Oh, and Johnny Giavotella has some bizarre palsy where he gets double vision whenever he moves his head, which is kind of a problem for someone who hits a baseball for a living.
Other than that, everything is coming up Milhouse.
Seriously, as if it wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Angels to dig themselves out of this hole, doing it with this sudden onset of poor health just seems unfair. Worst of all, I fear that it gives them just enough of an excuse for when they inevitable fall out of the race which could happen by the end of this homestand.
Second base is going to be a real problem
Speaking of that Giavotella issue, that one, surprisingly, looks like it could hurt the most. That’s kind of weird since Johnny is a poor defender with limited offensive ability who is barely above replacement level. Seriously, he is probably the worst starting second baseman in MLB this year, but the Angels need him back desperately.
That’s less about him and more about just how terrible the depth is behind him. Taylor Featherston can field, but he can’t hit a lick, at least right now. Heck, his defense is not even a given as it basically cost the Angels the second game of this series. But the Angels don’t have another choice because Grant Green is an even worse defender than Giavotella and hasn’t been able to get his bat going. As a result, the Angels are going to have to make a playoff push with a guy who hits worse than a pitcher manning the keystone every single day. It has gotten to the point that I actually found myself thinking that the Angels might’ve made a mistake by trading away Josh Rutledge. Josh Rutledge!