The dog fights of summer, sometimes they win, and sometimes you lose. Unfortunately for the Angels they came up with a short end of the bat this year. They were officially a limited from playoff contention on September 26, 2011. However, like I mentioned to my friends and in previous entries; I much rather be eliminated in late September with three games to go than in early to mid August.
As fans we have a lot to look forward to, the return of Kendrys Morales, contributions from my pick for American League rookie of the year; Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and contributions from our veterans like Torii Hunter who was hurt in the beginning of the season hence limiting his contribution. We’ll must not forget Vernon Wells, who unlike many Angels’ fans; he has not lost my support and I still maintain that he will be an excellent contributor in the future. The problem is that many Halo fans expected him to make an immediate impact. Some people can, and some people can’t, I for one am willing to cut him a little slack.
Torii Hunter, I heard his interview on the Jim Rome show a few days ago, he stated that when his contract is up with the Angels at the end of the 2012 season, he would love to re-sign with the Angels. He loves Southern California, he wants to play for a contender, but above all he loves their fan base in Anaheim. A lot of his critics say he is too old, that we need to get younger. I unequivocally and vehemently disagree, Torii Hunter is one of the greatest influences on this wonderful team, it would be a travesty if the Angels do not retain him. He is not only a great player, he is a great leader in the locker room, and above all what I most admire about him is that he is a great humanitarian, in a very loyal player to his team; I’ve been told by people who I met at Angel games that he is very fan friendly. I personally have not had the pleasure of meeting him yet, but I hope I have an opportunity to change that very soon.
Now for some random thoughts about the off-season, there are some key free agents that the Angels might want to take a look at this off-season. I am principally speaking about Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, the Angels should definitely consider signing one of those two players. However, as much as I would like a big bat, I think that the Halos would benefit more from a solid starting pitcher that they can add to the rotation to accompany Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. There is an old adage, “Defense wins championships” I am a strong believer in that, because it really doesn’t matter how strong the Angels offense is, if we can not keep the opposing offense from scoring.
The bullpen must also be addressed, our middle relievers were atrocious this year, the Angels would be best served if they let Fernando Rodney walk away from the organization. Clearly a change of scenery would do both parties well, Rodney was unhappy with his role for most of the season. I believe he did not play into his role to earn further consideration; therefore, he must be given no further opportunities, my points fit verbatim for Jeff Mathis he has to go.
Well, as always it’s been a pleasure to write for you about the team that I love. This is the end of the Angels’ 50th Anniversary Season. it would have been great to have the season capped off with a World Series Championship, however that was not to be. But as I mentioned before, I would rather go down fighting with three games to go, than to be eliminated in mid August.
Can Three Aces, A Few Offensive Jacks, and a Wildcard Give the Angels a Winning Poker Hand in the Upcoming World Series of Baseball?
Well here we are, there is seven games left to play in the regular season; and the dogfights for October are in full swing. The teams in the thick of their respective pennant races have reached full throttle; such is the case for the Angels as of today they are 5 games back from the division leading Texas Rangers, however, they are only 2 1/2 back out of the American League wild-card race.
There seems to be no stopping the Texas Rangers, when the Angels win, the Rangers also win. In effect, making it progressively more difficult for the Angels to win the division, due to the fact that all that’s happening is that the amount of games to be played a shrinking, and the need of having to rely on other teams make the Rangers have an epic melt down, which doesn’t seem to be happening.
What’s left for the Angels? Well, they are still very much alive in the American League wild card race. They are only 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and tied with Tampa Bay for second place in the wild-card race. The Angels must keep winning and hope they get some help from of all teams the New York Yankees whose remaining schedule is exclusively against the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. It has it yet to be seen if this is even a remote possibility because with the Yankees clinching the American League East yesterday, expect them to start resting their players for their playoff run. Unless the Yankees’ substitutes can somehow pull it off, I don’t see how the Yankees supplementary players can match up against the starters of either the Red Sox or the Rays; especially considering that both teams very much want the postseason for themselves, and are not going to quit.
Who knows, stranger things have happened that’s the beauty of baseball. And for the Angels in particular it’s happened before, in 2002 the Angels had their worst start in franchise history, they recovered, while the Oakland Athletics won a Major League Baseball record 20 games in a row, the Athletics seemed unstoppable; like the 2011 Texas Rangers the Athletics were counting down magic numbers and their clinching the division was only a matter of time, but somehow the Athletics lost their division series against the Minnesota Twins and their division championship was all for not, while the Angels as a wildcard, defeated the New York Yankees, defeated the Minnesota Twins, and virtually came back from the dead against the San Francisco Giants in one of the greatest comebacks in World Series history, to win the 2002 World Series and become World Series Champions and as they say, the rest is history.
So who’s to say we can’t do it again? Especially with a team that we now have? We have spectacular pitching in Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. In a five-game series we can virtually be anybody especially the New York Yankees since the Angels seem to be known around baseball as Yankee killers since we are the only team that holds a winning all-time record against the Yankees, in Major League Baseball.
Yes, it’s going to be a difficult road, nothing is for certain, but this is not a road the Angels have not been down before. The hunt for a red October begins, the Angels were the first team in Major League Baseball history to win the World Series as a wildcard. The Angels may find a way to do it again. May the shadows of 2002 a company them and aid them in their quest for a second World Series title. How special would it be not only unexpectedly won the World Series as a wildcard yet again, but also complete the journey during their 50th Anniversary Season. I know it’s a long shot, but like any true fan would think as long as they are alive in the playoff race anything and everything is possible. Go Angels! Let’s light up the Halo and put a Halo over this upcoming World Series.
Duality, it can be a perplexing concept; but I think that is what most Angels’ fans are going through right now. We are in the middle of A dog fight with the Texas Rangers for the American League West, and it appears neither side is willing to cede anything to the other. 13 games, that’s all that’s left to decide the season of 2011. The way things are going, it’s still can be anybody’s division. For the sake of organizing my thoughts, I have decided to write this entry exactly the way that I’m feeling. One side, is that of the Angels’ fanatic the other, the side of Mr. realistic. I honestly feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, so I think the smart thing to do is to write this entry in that manner.
The Angels’ Fanatic
The Angels are only three games behind with 13 games to play, mathematically this seems very doable, especially with the big three in Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Couple that with the offensive resurgence of Torii Hunter and the youth movement that is Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger and Peter Bourjos. Our good pitching coupled with contributions from both our veterans and youth should keep us in the fight through the last 13 games, even if that means forcing a one-game playoff. We will make it to the postseason and beyond.
There are 13 games left to play with the Angels only three games back and although that may seem like a deficit that is relatively easy to overcome, there is really more to it. It is highly doubtful that this division will be won with less than 90 wins, as such the Angels must try to win a vast majority of the remaining games, to borrow a phrase from the Oakland Raiders “Just Win Baby!” and hope that the remaining opponents that the Rangers have, help the Angels by making the Rangers stumble. The Rangers offense is just too powerful for that to happen long-term, so the Angels must take advantage of every opportunity presented to them. It’s not enough for the Angels just to keep pace. An Angels win coupled with a Rangers win just burns up games. And that does not bode well for a team that is trying to chase the division leading Rangers. This is especially true since the Angels can’t seem to beat the Rangers with regularity during the head-to-head matchups. They will have a chance to redeem themselves during the last series of the regular season at home.
The Angels can attempt to capture the American League wild card since they are only 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild-Card race, there again lies the difficulty, not only to be Angels have to rely on other teams to make the Boston Red Sox stumble but we also have to hope that Tampa Bay Rays also stumble; since the Rays are also breathing down the neck of the Red Sox.
The numbers seem to tell The story of an American League West division pennant race that is much closer than it actually is. But as a diehard Angels’ fan, it would be foolhardy of me to think that the Angels don’t have a legitimate shot at overtaking the Rangers and winning the American League West. I wouldn’t be much of a fan, would I? So I guess the Angels’ fan wins round one, the Angels’ fan, 1 Mr. realistic, 0