The first half of the 2013 season has been a roller-coaster ride for the Los Angeles Angels.
The squad stumbled out of the gates in April, posting a 9-17 record. They rebounded a bit in May, winning 16 out of 29 to bring their season tally to 25-30.
In June, they played one game above .500 with a 14-13 record (season record of 39-43). However, coming off a series sweep in Seattle, the Angels are only 5-6 in July.
With a 44-49 record at the All-Star break, time is running out for the Angels to get back in the playoff hunt. They currently trail the Texas Rangers by nine games and the division-leading Oakland Athletics by 11.
Despite an eight-game winning streak at the end of May and a seven-game winning streak at the end of June, the Angels still sit five games below .500.
The biggest issue plaguing a prolonged run by the Angels is their inconsistency on both sides of the ball.
Let's take a look at some of the hottest and coldest Angels players heading into the second half of the season.
|Last 10 Games||36||15||8||2||6||5||1||.417|
|Year to Date||370||119||65||15||59||47||21||.322|
Mike Trout has been the Angels' rock this season. He has been their most consistent player and easily takes the cake as team MVP for the first half of the season. His batting average is now as high as it's been all season thanks in large part to a hot stretch of games against St. Louis, Boston, Chicago and Seattle.
Look for Trout to be the Angels' best player in the second half. Barring injury, Trout should finish third in the AL MVP race behind Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (MLB-best 95 RBI) and Baltimore's Chris Davis (MLB-best 37 home runs).
|Last 10 Games||40||10||5||2||2||1||0||.250|
|Year to Date||352||109||41||11||40||20||6||.310|
In his eighth year in the league, Howie Kendrick is enjoying a renaissance season. Batting .310 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI, the Angels' second baseman rightfully deserved consideration for the Midsummer Classic in New York. At the break, Kendrick is second on the team in hits (109) and fourth on the team in RBI (40).
However, the 30-year-old limped into the break playing less-than-stellar ball. In the last 10 games, Kendrick hit just .250 with 2 RBI, striking out seven times and walking only once. Even more concerning for Angels fans, Kendrick is hitting just .237 in his last 30 games.
|Last 10 Games||39||9||4||4||10||3||1||.231|
|Year to Date||339||76||48||14||39||26||3||.224|
Although Josh Hamilton's first 93 games as a Halo have been a big disappointment, the slugger is beginning to show signs of life.
Hamilton's dramatic game-tying home run in the ninth inning on July 4 squandered a gem delivered by Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. The Angels would go on to win the game on an Erick Aybar walk-off single.
Hamilton played the role of hero again just two nights later against the Boston Red Sox. Atoning for a costly defensive error earlier in the game, Hamilton drilled a two-run, walk-off home run in the 11th inning.
Look for Hamilton's production to increase in the second half of the season as his stock is currently trending upward. Despite his slow start, 30 home runs and 90 RBI (for the season) aren't out of the question for a player as talented as Hamilton.
|Last 3 Starts||3||14.2||0||2||12||8||8.59||2.04|
|Year to Date||19||112.1||2||12||93||26||5.53||1.55|
Joe Blanton's first year with the Halos has been downright atrocious. His 2-12 record is among the worst in baseball and his 5.53 ERA isn't far behind.
What's worse? He's actually trending downward!
In his last three starts, Blanton gave up four runs against the St. Louis Cardinals, six runs against the Chicago Cubs and four runs against the Seattle Mariners. His ERA for those games stands at a whopping 8.59.
Considering Blanton's two-year contract is worth a hefty $15 million, the Angels are far from getting their monies worth from their No. 3 starter.
|Last 3 Starts||3||20.2||2||1||21||5||0.87||1.06|
|Year to Date||19||120.1||9||6||110||47||3.37||1.33|
C.J. Wilson's last three starts have been impressive. Pitching against Houston, Boston and Chicago, the 33-year-old struck out 21 batters and only walked five. Both his ERA and WHIP are well below his season averages.
With nine wins on the season, Wilson has three more than any other pitcher on the staff. Because of injuries suffered by Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas, Wilson has assumed temporary status as the ace of the rotation.
Look for the left-hander to build on his recent success in the second half of the season. Although 15 wins and 200 strikeouts seem to be lofty goals, they certainly aren't out of the question for Wilson this season.
|Last 3 Starts||3||8.0||0||2||4||6||19.13||3.00|
|Year to Date||23||92.0||5||5||57||29||4.60||1.35|
Jerome Williams' stock with the Angels is plummeting. In his last three starts, Williams has lasted only 1.2 innings, 3.0 innings and 3.1 innings. In those games, he allowed 17 runs on 18 hits for a 19.13 ERA.
Making matters worse, Williams has won only one of his last 10 starts. As the Angels' fifth starter behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson, Williams has been atrocious of late.
Regardless of how good the Angels' offense is, they will be hard-pressed to win games with Williams and Joe Blanton pitching as poorly as they have.