The Angels still very much have a chance at the playoffs. It is somewhere between a 1-in-8 and 1-in-4 chance depending on which projection system you ask. Neither are great odds, but they are still "doable" odds. The only problem is the Angels continue to make the math hard on themselves by not winning important series, like this one for example.
Out of their remaining games, 15 are against non-contending teams. Those are all very winnable games, but man cannot exist on cupcakes alone, nor can baseball teams. At some point, the Angels need to actually beat those teams in front of them. They didn't this series and there is a good chance that they will regret it.
With at least three teams to leapfrog, the Angels need to make their own luck because all three teams aren't just going to implode and permit the Halos to back into the final Wild Card spot. Of course, you know all this. The Angels players know all this as well and yet they continue to leave wins on the field like they did today by putting Scherzer on the ropes in the first inning, but letting him escape due to piss poor situational hitting (really, Torii? First pitch swinging GIDP?).
-- Ervin sort of lost it late, but in my book this was another semi-encouraging start. The home runs allowed continue to be just stupid ridiculous, but he is otherwise giving the Angels a chance to win now. Really, if he hadn't had that awful stretch earlier in the season, this would've been one of those "Ervin's gonna Ervin" starts that we have become accustomed to for years in which he is pretty good but for two bad pitches that landed on the wrong side of the fence. I guess my point is that Santana still isn't great, but he is now back more to the normal level of frustrating that we expected before the season.
-- As if we needed further evidence that Scott Downs is still broken, Mike Scioscia brings him into a game where the Halos trail by three runs to apparently get some work. Sure enough, Scotty allowed two hits to left-handed batters and coughed another run. All kinds of broken. This isn't going to end well for anyone involved.
-- I don't want to blame this game on Mike Trout, but with Pujols out of the lineup, someone needed to step up and put the lineup on their back. With just one hit all series, Trout definitely did not do that. On a related noted, how awful does this lineup look when Pujols is not in it? The Angels are actually fourth in the AL in runs scored this season, but when Pujols is out I just stare at the lineup and wonder where the production is going to come from after Trout.
This is almost unfair because Hunter is one of the few guys that didn't strikeout today, but that first inning GIDP ruined what could've been a big inning against one of the hottest pitchers in baseball. Instead the Angels got just one run in the inning and didn't score again until the ninth. Momentum killer extraordinaire.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com
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