Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Mitch Chortkoff
Sports Editor 

Can Angels Succeed In Playoffs? I Don't Know


September 22, 2014

Mike Trout

The Angels clinched their division championship the fastest of any team this season.

That's the good news for Angel fans. The bad news is the team that clinches first seldom wins the World Series.

As a columnist I'm expected to toss out opinions to help readers make their choices. But, being honest, I'm admitting that I don't have a strong opinion on how the Angels are going to do,

The Angels should be taken seriously because of their hitting. They're a scary opponent for anyone because they have Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and because a batch of unknown players headed by Cole Calhoun have had terrific seasons too.

But, oh my, the pitching can be dreadful on certain nights.

The Angels surprisingly kept winning after young pitching star Garret Richards was lost for the season while trying to cover first base in a game against the Red Sox in Boston.

What troubles me is what happened in the most recent games after the Angels clinched the division championship.

Game after game, sometimes for an entire three-game series, Manager Mike Scioscia had to call upon relief pitchers from the start of games to the finish. Sometimes the Angels scored enough runs to win but it's doubtful a similar plan would be successful in the playoffs against other first rate teams.

The pressure is on Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson to be very good throughout the playoffs. And for Matt Shoemaker, who came out of nowhere to take Richards' place, to continue being superb.

Formidable playoff opponents such as Baltimore and Detroit will test these Angel pitchers.

Eric Aybar has had a remarkable season for the Angels and the shortstop is another important guy for the playoffs. Second baseman Howie Kendrick has claimed the cleanup spot in the lineup but can he continue excelling to make up for outfielder Josh Hamilton's struggles?

I think the Angels made a mistake sending away Torri Hunter to make room for Hamilton a few years ago, Although Hunter is 38 he remains one of the best players in baseball, an outstanding leader and much more consistent than Hamilton. But now he plays in Detroit even though he wanted to stay with the Angels.

So now the Angels are a puzzle. They might glide through the playoffs, but more likely they're going to be challenged.

In next week's column I'll write about the Dodgers, who similarly have question marks.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019