They may have beaten Toronto to win their latest three-game series, but many of the same problems that have plagued the L.A. Angels through their first two months of the season were still evident Wednesday.
Horrible defense. Horrible bullpen. Horrible intensity.
* Juan Rivera forgets how many outs there are, and almost gets picked off in a key part of the game.
* The underachieving Howie Kendrick almost hits into a double play, when all he had to do was hit the ball in the air to win the game. The man that has been touted as the “future batting champion” for the past five years is now hitting .257.
* Bobby Abreu commits his fifth error of the year by slowing up on a fly ball to shallow right and dropping it—putting the tying run on second base in the ninth.
Let me just repeat that: Five errors in two months of playing right field. That gives him a .938 fielding percentage through 45 games—the worst among outfielders in the majors.
* Brian Fuentes ultimately blows another save—only to thieve another win away from Joel Piñeiro.
Abreu atoned for his defensive sins with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth, which really cloaked another sloppy game for the Halos.
Here is the good news.
The Angels get to play virtually nothing but horrible teams for the next month.
The bad news is, their opponents are probably thinking they are lucky to get to play the Angels, who have now managed to pull within three games of .500.
The Angels had an unusually tough schedule to start the season. They have already played Boston, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis, Texas and the New York Yankees a total of 29 times in their first 49 games.
In those 29 games against contending teams, the Angels had a record of 8-21. Against all other opponents, they are an amazing 15-5.
Considering that lopsided statistic, June might be just what the doctor ordered for the Angels—a steady prescription of anemic teams to find their stroke against. In fact, their next 14 games are all against Seattle, Kansas City, and Oakland.
The only teams they will play in the next 29 games with winning records are the Dodgers, and Colorado. The Angels always play their cross-town rivals tough, and Colorado is playing at two games over .500.
The June finale will be against first place Texas before the Angels begin July with another light stretch against Kansas City, Chicago, and Oakland.
Given that schedule, don’t be shocked if you see the Angels emerge from June with a record that is at least 10 games over .500.
That being said, the Angels are going to have to beat a good team sometime. They miraculously won a three-game series against the Yankees, but wins against teams with winning records have been few, and far between this season.
Hopefully June can help them get their groove back, since they have proven they are at least still good enough to dominate second-rate ballclubs. They are going to need to find their swagger soon if they have any interest in seeing their seventh playoff appearance in nine years materialize.
Too bad they won’t get to play Kansas City if and when they get there.