Los Angeles Angels Looking To Turn Things Around

travis proctorCorrespondent IJune 29, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 10: Torii Hunter #48 of the Los Angeles Angels high fives pitching coach Mike Butcher #23 after defeating the Boston Red Sox on April 10, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Angels won 6-3.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Angels have not been very fortunate through the first half of the MLB season. No team has had to deal with the same amount of key injuries or the tragic death of a young star on the rise. As bad as things were for a while in Anaheim, they are really starting to turn around.

Torii Hunter has proved to be the best pickup the Angels have made in years.

He is a career .274 hitter who has stayed above .300 all year and is showing no signs of slowing down. Hunter is on pace to hit over 30 home runs and over 100 RBI while playing his usual eye-popping defense in center field. Not to mention the man is a natural leader; his strength and leadership have without a doubt helped to keep things from falling apart in the clubhouse.

The Angels' biggest strength for the past decade has been pitching.

This year with injuries to Ervin Santana, John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Scott Shields and the tragic death of Nick Adenhart, the Angels have had to dig deep in their farm system to find capable pitching. Not to mention Jose Arredondo has disappeared from the face of the earth. The Angels have used 22 different pitchers this season, the biggest strength of the team became it's biggest weakness overnight.

What happened to Howie Kendrick?

Coming into the season Kendrick had a career average over .300, granted it was in limited time but I still believe the sample was big enough. While he has been trying to figure things out in the minors, Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar have done an excellent job in the middle infield proving they can be good everyday players. They have played very good defense and both are hitting around .270.

Vladimir Guerrero has shown heavy signs of aging while having to deal with injuries of his own.

Guerrero has only appeared in 37 of the Angels 73 games so far and is having by far his worst season in an Angel uniform. With only two home runs at this point, the Angels will need a much more Vlad-like second half to get them into the postseason.

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The Angels are leading the American League in Batting Average at .273, which is no surprise. With Juan Rivera, Mike Napoli, and Kendry Morales combining for 34 home runs so far this season, the Angels could have found the power they have always needed to get over the hump.

Chone Figgins is back to doing what he does best.

After a slow start, Figgins is hitting .319 and has 23 stolen bases. Many people overlook how important Figgins is to this lineup. Figgins has that rare ability to turn a single or a walk into a double. Figgins sets the table for the Angels and when he goes well, so do the Angels.

After an unbelievably tough start to the season, the Angels they have found themselves back in first place.

The offense has found a groove and the pitchers are coming off the DL. There is no doubt that a healthy Angels team will win the A.L. West, but that's the key.

Can the Angels stay healthy for the rest of the season and make a run or will injuries take their toll and leave the Angels on the outside looking in?

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