Angels Quickly Fading From AL Playoff Picture

What’s Happening in Anaheim?

8/20/12 in MLB   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Aug 13, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia argues an out call against Los Angeles Angels catcher Chris Iannetta (17) during the game against the Cleveland Indians during the third inning at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim.  Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIREIt was a picture perfect series for the Tampa Bay Rays: the first 4-game sweep of the Angels in franchise history, and it set the new marker for the franchise’s highest run output in a 4-game series, outscoring the Angels 37-14 overall.  It helped propel the Rays into 1st place in the AL wild card picture, and dropped the Angels to 5th.
After the Angels struggled out of the gate this season, they really started to turn the corner in late May.  It was about a month after rookie sensation Mike Trout was called up and the Angels put together an 8-game win streak.  Pujols was starting to come along and Trout was beginning to receive some MVP consideration.  For the next couple months, the Angels and Rangers pretty played even ball.  The only thing really separating them was the fact that both teams opened the season so differently, with the Rangers off to a red-hot start and the Angels sluggish play in April.
The 4-game sweep by the Rays gives the Angels 13 losses in their past 18 games.  They’re now 9 games behind the Rangers in the West and 4.5 games behind the Orioles for the 2nd wild card spot.
August 17, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver (36) speaks with catcher Chris Iannetta (17) during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIREWhat’s most troubling of the team’s woes is that all four of the Angels top arms were hit hard against the Rays.  Haren and Weaver opened the series, and neither could make it 4 innings.  Then CJ Wilson failed to hold on to an 8-run Angels lead on Saturday, before Greinke was tagged for 6 runs yesterday.  The Angels hitting wasn’t anything spectacular, but you have to expect more out of one of the league’s top rotations when you get to mid-August.
With 40 games left in the season, the Angels would need a somewhat historic run (think Cardinals and Rays last year) to have a chance at beating out the Rangers in the West.  But the wild card race is a different question.  The Angels currently trail the Rays, Orioles, Athletics, and Tigers in that order, and they still have two series against both the Athletics and Tigers in the final month and a half.   
There’s no question that the Angels have the talent required to make that playoff push.  The key is just getting hot at the right time.  The hitting needs to be more timely and the pitching, more dominant. 
Next up for the Angels are road series against the Red Sox and Tigers.
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