The Angels have fallen behind in the AL West, but Torii Hunter is not ready to give up. (Photo by Jeff Lewis)
By Tamara Latta
Sentinel Sports Writer
The Angels haven’t been playing great baseball lately as they sit eight games behind the AL West division leading Texas Rangers. July isn’t a month the Halos would want to remember, after finishing 8-15 and just one game over .500. About this time last year, the Angels were on top but with a different line-up. The decisions made in the off-season are affecting the Angels severely.
What went wrong in Anaheim? Well I know one fact that maybe putting a nail in the coffin. They parted ways with three Kings instead of three jacks. Chone Figgins was replaced by Brandon Wood, Vladimir Guerrero was replaced by Hideki Matsui and John Lackey was replaced by Joel Pineiro. Now the talent isn’t matching the chemistry.
I have to elaborate on the bad judgments the Angels Management made during the off-season. You let these players walk away, after having a very successful season last year. These were key players that made major contributions to the team’s remarkable performance in 2009. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Angels downgraded their roster, but they most definitely tampered with the momentum the team had going.
With just a little over 50 games left and sitting in 2nd place in the AL West, the Angels have run into a brick wall that they’ll have to try to knock down in less than 45 days. Competing for a playoff spot isn’t easy, especially when you have to play catch-up and ball clubs continue to win. But Angels Centerfielder Torii Hunter is staying positive, and reminding his teammates that there is enough time to turn this frown upside down.
“This is the way all baseball teams are, everyone gets to experience a slump here and there,” Hunter said. “We happen to be in a three week slump and it’s pretty tough, but we just have to keep fighting and see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
What is in the air in Southern California this baseball season? The 5 freeway and the 110 freeway are having a panic attack. The boys in blue and the boys in red are looking like losers right now. I wonder if they have been taking advice from one another, because for now the Angels and the Dodgers continue to roll the dice and crap out. I still believe both teams will make the playoffs, but they’ve to show more motivation and determination. Both teams continue to have more questions than answers.
The Angels’ stats look solid on paper with Bobby Abreu (.253 AVG, 12 HR, 56 RBI) Torii Hunter (.286 AVG, 16 HR, 64 RBI) Mike Napoli (.251, 18 HR, 44 RBI) & Matsui (.251 AVG, 14HR, 55 RBI). But their record isn’t looking so delightful (54-53).
After failing to make a move before the trade deadline, the Angels roster is not up to par with their competition, the first place Rangers. It’s going to be hard to compete against this team with all the pieces they have added. Cliff Lee is now with the Rangers, which adds another ace pitcher who is known to put bats to rest. The Angels were able to retire the Rangers this past weekend, winning the weekend series 2-1. They showed that they will put on boxing gloves, but they don’t have all the tools and mechanics to go a full twelve rounds in the playoffs.