By Glen McKee, Totally Unprepared For This Weather
My first choice for a title this week was the “Cam You Dig It?” edition, but then I woke up this morning and went to take my dogs for a walk, and it was 44 degrees in Pinon Hills, with a breeze. I’m not saying Hell is freezing over because the Angels won a series in Houston, but there may be a few demons looking for the jackets that they’d packed away since a bit after Trump was elected. However, I am saying that Cameron Maybin was in large part responsible for that series victory. Gents and the very rare lady or two that reads this, let’s celebrate a bit before the road gets even tougher.
The team. After a 4-2 week, the Angels are still in second place in the AL West, a game above the Dipotos. Suck it, Jerry! Amazingly enough, the Angels are also only one game back in the Wild Card standings. Think about that for a bit. I know it says more about the competition than it does the Angels but despite all the pitching injuries and losing Mike Trout for a while, the Angels are still legitimately in the playoff race. That’s surprising.
The bad. Hey, Albert Pujols hit a HR yesterday, yippee! For the week, he hit .174 with three RBI. He needs to step up a bit more. CJ Cron was even worse, with one HR but five RBI while hitting .163. Maybe we can alternate him, a week at Salt Lake, a week up here. Jesse Chavez, who had been doing much better than anticipated, nominated himself to get Fistered by pitching 9.1 innings in two starts and giving up 8 ER for a 7.71 ERA. JC Ramirez also took a step back with his second bad start in a row, going five innings against Detroit and giving up four ER. He is another candidate to be Fistered.
The good. Cameron Maybin. He came back from the DL on Friday and played two games in Houston. His line for those two games: five for eight, 2 BB, SIX stolen bases, seven runs. All of that in two games. Of course, after that performance, the question is being raised about whether the Angels should trade him while he’s hot, or sign him to an extension if he’s willing. I say just enjoy him for now. Kole Calhoun evidently took it personally when I called him Kold. He had another very good week, hitting .364 with 9 RBI but only one run (thanks, Pujols). Danny Espinosa had a good (for him) week, hitting .267 to bring his average up to …uh, .164. Damn. Alex Meyer continued to improve, throwing six innings against the Tigers and giving up 0 ER. His increased confidence faces a challenge tonight against the Yankees. Pro tip: do NOT pitch to Aaron Judge. Unless, of course, the game is out of reach either way. David Hernandez continued to be another surprise in a surprising bullpen, throwing 3.1 innings while giving up no hits and allowing no runs. The bullpen turnaround from the first two weeks has been nothing short of amazing.
The binnacle list. For the first time since I’ve started this list, nobody went on it last week. However, Maybin came off of it, which is nice. Cam Bedrosian remained on the binnacle list, experiencing something Angels fans are more than used to hearing about a rehabbing player, a setback. Tyler Skaggs threw off a weightless pitching mound on Friday and is optimistic he’ll he back at the end of the month. Eat some bananas and do some extra stretches, Tyler. This starting pitching staff is showing signs of wear and is gonna need some help soon.
The rest. Last week was a good week for the Angels. They went 4-2 and they won a series in Houston. I don’t think that’s happened since Houston moved to the AL West. Sure, the Astros were missing their top two pitchers, but so were we. And then some. This team showed that favorite unmeasurable quality, grit. Give it up for them! As alluded to above, Doug Fister has been pitching well in SLC and could easily soon replace one of our starters who is faltering.
The week ahead. Hoo boy. It starts with three at home against the Yankees, which means the stadium will be filled with douchebag fans. Remember how I mentioned above that Meyer shouldn’t pitch to Judge? That goes for the rest of the team as well. Let his only highlight be getting a bunch of IBB. After that, the Angels have four at home against the Royals, a team on the decline. That means the Hud-Dog will be back in the announcer’s booth in Anaheim. I’m pumped, Phyz!
Predictions. I was pessimistic about last week and the Angels proved me wrong, going 4-2 against my 1-5. There’s no reason the Angels can’t continue to be at least lukewarm. They don’t have to dominance over the Yankees that they did in the past but the have the aforementioned grit. That said, it’s only a three-game series so I’m going with 1-2 versus the Yankees and then a bounce back 3-1 versus the Royals. I challenge anyone reading this to post their predictions. Let’s have some fun with this.