The Angels are falling quickly, and there’s no Mike Trout coming from the minors to ignite the fire this time around. He’s not part of the problem, but he’s certainly not capable of carrying this struggling Angels team on his back right now.
Ten games under .500 and 8.5 games behind the Rangers in the AL West, the biggest hole on the roster has been created by prize free-agent signee Josh Hamilton’s inability to do much of anything positive at the plate. An 0-for-4 night against the Astros on Tuesday has dropped his OPS to .535 with seven walks and 40 strikeouts.
With the money invested in the 31-year-old Hamilton, they have no choice but to be patient and hope he turns it around. Without Hamilton’s ability to carry an offense, and since Albert Pujols can't be depended on too much as he plays through a painful foot injury, the Halos have needed much better starting pitching than they’ve been getting.
Staff ace Jered Weaver will return in a few weeks from a fractured elbow, which should give the team a huge boost. Offseason acquisitions Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson haven’t been awful. Joe Blanton has been better after a terrible start.
That trio is simply not good enough, though, to get the Angels through a rough patch when the offense isn’t scoring a lot of runs. The same can be said for a bullpen that is currently without injured pitchers Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett and Kevin Jepsen.
A healthy Weaver, C.J. Wilson and one other reliable starter could be what the Angels need to make a run. Unfortunately, the Angels farm system lacks much talent or depth. Their best prospects coming into the season haven’t been impressive, either.
The best they can do is another back-of-the-rotation starter and none are guaranteed to be better than what the Angels currently have.
Best-case scenario: Scott Feldman (pictured, 2.70 ERA in six starts), RHP, Chicago Cubs; or Bud Norris (3.89 ERA in seven starts), RHP, Houston Astros
Worst-case scenario: Kevin Slowey, RHP, Miami Marlins; or Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Minnesota Twins