It has been a tale of two seasons for the three-time defending divisional champs.
Based solely on their first two months, they would be getting a D.
However, despite playing about as bad as they could possibly play over that span, plus several key injuries and the woeful play of Brandon Wood, the Angels are only 3.5 out of first place.
How is that possible?
One word: Depth.
The Angels have been showing their depth off since stars like Kendry Morales, Jeff Mathis and Eric Aybar were placed on the DL. In fact, they've played better without them.
Since May 25, the Angels have had the best record in baseball—going 28-11 in that span.
How many other teams in all of baseball could lose their best hitter, best shortstop and best defensive catcher—only to post a record like that?
The naysayers before the season gave the Angels no chance to win their fourth consecutive division title before the season started—citing the losses of ace John Lackey, Chone Figgins, Guerrero and others.
However, the Angels have proven they were as deep as General Manager Tony Reagins thought they were.
You had to know the Angels were not going to continue to hit .230 as a team for the entire year, and now they are turning it around in a big way.
Not only do the Angels have more home runs than Texas, they were the third best hitting team in the AL in June and have climbed to fifth best for the year.
Similarly, you had to know their starting rotation would not struggle all year long. They moved from having the worst ERA of any team in the majors, to seventh best in the AL in one month.
Jered Weaver has distinguished himself as the ace of the staff in that time—leading the league in strikeouts and quality starts in the process.
Joel Piñeiro, who many thought was a poor attempt at replacing Lackey, has more quality starts, more innings pitched, more complete games, a better ERA and a better WHIP than Lackey.
Not bad for a guy that makes $10.7 million less than his counterpart.
Ervin Santana is having a huge rebound year—posting numbers that rival Weaver's.
Even Scott Kazmir has gotten it together as of late—winning four-out-of his last five starts and posting a 3.71 ERA for the month of June.
Unfortunately for the Angels, Texas just won't lose.
They are hoping a series win against the Rangers this week may be the ying to their yang. A turning point in their season.
That might be too much weight to stick on a series being played in the last week in June, but beating Texas straight up seems like the best bet for the Angels to gain ground.
The biggest question mark for the Angels going forward is still their bullpen.
It has struggled mightily all season. It looked like K-Rod 2.0, a.k.a. Francisco Rodriguez, was about to ride in on his white horse and be the cure, but he too has been getting lit up as of late.
That opens the door for Reagins to possibly make a move before the trade deadline.
The best available option might be Cleveland's Kerry Wood. However, with a contact of over $10 million and sub-par numbers, Wood might turn out to be a more expensive version of what they already have.
It would be a gamble, but it might be one the Angels would be willing to take if there are no other options. They might still be able to win the division as things stand right now, but they don't figure to go far without improving their pen.
The novelty of winning a four-team division is starting to wear off on the fans. The Angels have become the West Coast equivalent to the Atlanta Braves. A consistently good team that has never taken the next step into greatness.
Still, I like the Angels starting rotation better than Texas, and the Angels have a lot more upside than Texas looking toward the second half.
Texas has played about as well as they can, and they did not take advantage of the Angels' early struggles like they should have.
As the Angels get healthier, they are going to only get better and they should be able to overtake the Rangers at some point.
Regardless, the Wild Card picture is looking more and more like a western proposition. These are both loaded, playoff-worthy teams.