The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were reeling. A 7-15 stretch in late July and early August put the ambitious Halos from being a pennant contender to a mere two games over .500.
The Angels were in danger of becoming the American League answer to the Marlins. They made big attention grabbing moves in the offseason, none bigger than signing Albert Pujols from the Cardinals, but now were crashing and burning towards a losing season.
At 62-60, it would take only a modest losing streak to have them sink below .500.
And then came the baseball equivalent of a trip to the spa: The Angels played the Red Sox. And thus their season was saved.
The Angels won the August 21 game at Fenway, 5-3. They then beat the Red Sox 7-3 in game two and won the wild, bizarre "Does anyone want to win this?" 10-inning game-three finale, 14-13.
While the Angels lost two of three in Detroit afterwards, they arrived in Anaheim where the Red Sox were waiting for them.
Three days later, the Red Sox left town without a win. The Angels had swept the Red Sox twice in nine days.
Essentially, they needed to find a team more dysfunctional than they were to kick start their winning ways.
Since arriving in Boston on August 21, the Angels are 10-3. They remembered how to win again, ending the Athletics' nine-game winning streak yesterday.
As of this writing, they are a mere 3.5 games out of a wild-card spot with 27 games to play. It may be quite a hole dug by their 7-15 July and August stretch (as well as their other 7-15 run at the start of the season.) But the team is super talented with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver highlighting the team.
Plus, they play the Athletics six more times. The best way the well-paid, talented Angels could overtake the scrappy upstart A's is head to head.
Count out the Angels at your own peril. For them it is a shame, though, that they aren't going to play Boston again. They got their groove back against the Red Sox.