Things are bad for the Angels and they could soon be getting even worse. Their six games under .500, have a losing record at home and have one of the worst run differentials in the league. They can’t pitch, field or hit. It is only the middle of May but the odds of them winning another division title are looking pretty bleak. Well, it should be looking pretty bleak but for one tiny little factor- the rest of the division pretty much stinks too.
If the Angels don’t pick it up soon, their piece of the pie is going to start getting smaller.
You have to hand it to the Angels, they picked a good year to start sucking ass. In a year in which the rest of the division was supposedly primed to take big jumps and catch up to the Halos a the top, LAA has sunk down to their level instead. As of right now, the Angels are six games under .500 already but find themselves a mere 5.5 games back in the division. Fortunately for the Angels, none of their divisional opponents have yet seized the opportunity to take advantage of LAA’s early struggles and start running away with the division while they can.
For all their bluster coming into the season, neither the Rangers, Athletics nor the Mariners have proven to be anything other than flawed, or very flawed in the case of the Mariners.
Take a look at Seattle. They were supposed to be the real dark horses this year, but they’re off to an even worse start. They might be able to pitch, but, much like last year, they still can’t score as they currently rank 29th in the majors in runs scored and OPS. What else would you expect from a team that is comprised largely of sub-Mendoza line hitters.
Or how about Oakland? They are only two spots ahead of the Mariners in terms of OPS, but have been a bit luckier and wound up 21st in runs scored, partially explaining how they’ve been able to keep their record barely over .500.
And let’s not forget about the first place Rangers. They look pretty good at first glance at five games over .500. Then again, they have also had a six-game losing streak already this year, so they are definitely capable of going into a funk. Of course, their basic statistics all seem strong as they are in the top ten in the league in both runs scored and ERA. But sometimes that first glance can be deceiving.
Delving deeper into the numbers, the Rangers and the rest of the division don’t look particularly menacing, unless you are intimidated by overachievers. Nobody in the AL West, including the Rangers, has a team hitters WAR higher than 15th in the majors. That makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Texas may be doing a good job of pushing runs across the plate, but they have been managing to do so with the 18th best OPS in the majors. That is good news for the Angels and their floundering offense as it turns out that they are just as inept offensively as the rest of the division.
Surely though the other AL Westers can pitch though, after all they all have top 12 team ERAs. Or maybe not, Texas leads the AL West in ERA and is seventh in the majors, but their team pitching WAR is merely 20th overall, only slightly behind the Mariners who are 18th and ahead of Oakland who is 22nd. The Angels check in at 26th in that metric, but they have to be feeling a lot better knowing that they really aren’t that far behind the AL West pack.
Considering all of that, it is actually kind of surprising that the Angels are as far back in the division race as they are. But the good news is that they can start remedying that immediately as they are about to kick of a stretch of 16 games in which they will face all three of their divisional rivals. If they can start chipping away during this stretch, by this same time next month, we could easily be talking about how the Angels can hold off the rest of the division rather than catch up to them.