About one month ago, the following was written:
If the Angels are swept by the Astros at any point, let’s agree to ... start mainlining Prozac.
Well, good news for the pharmaceutical lobby: The Angels have seemingly turned from the winning ways that brought them an 8 game win streak and proceeded to screw the pooch, dropping four of four to the Astros. It’s not the end of the season, but it sure feels a like it. A team that, on paper, the Angels should have been able to beat turned into an unstoppable force that ripped 4 games from the Halos grasp, including one shutout. This was followed by a split with the Cubs, a team ranked 4th in their division with only two more wins than the Astros. Another blunder in a what should have been a winnable series. Follow THAT up with 1 for 3 against the Red Sox and things are looking bleak, to put it mildly.
So, what now?
Do we turn our attention to the All-Star game? To the surprise of no one, Mike Trout came out of the gate leading the AL outfielder race in all-star votes. If anyone was thinking of leaping off a cliff, that should be enough to at least make you take a couple steps back and pause a bit to take a picture for instagram before you jump. Other than that, we’ll have to pray some of the top selections are too jaded with the summer classic to accept their invites and we sneak some alternates in.
Do we start the blame game? It’s the pitching! It’s the hitting! It’s Scioscia’s coaching! It’s Butcher’s coaching! It’s the bullpen! It’s Jerry DiPoto’s fault for screwing up the roster! It’s Budweiser’s fault for not telling the Angels they can’t raise beer prices! It’s the groundskeepers’ faults for making the grass too springy! It’s AJ Pierzynski’s fault because he’s a convenient target of hate! Just a point a finger any direction and we’ll find the source of this culture of losing! (Although Pierzynski is the front runner on this one, just because.)
Do we prepare for next season? Trout and Trumbo are still in need of contract extensions and it’s time to start worrying about Pujols’s backloading as his salary goes up in year three and its a bigger problem than you may expect. With the way the current season’s going, the Halos can’t raise beer prices again to pay for the increase. The fans need SOMETHING to take the edge off, and if we comfort eat instead, we’ll all be Blanton-esque before you know it.
The answer to “What now?” is this: We endure. Baseball is 162 games. Some are gone and there are many still yet to play. Since the NBA and NHL are almost out and NFL opening day is an entire summer away, baseball and the UFC are all we have as sports fans (unless you count golf, which I don’t). While we all have ideas on how to make the team better, it can’t be helped. We’re not the ones in the office, we’re not the ones on the field and we’re not the ones in the dugout. We’re the ones in the stands. It’s our job to be pleasantly surprised should the Angels somehow right this ship and sail out into playoff contention. We should prepare for that.
Or we should start saving our nickels for $15 beers next season.
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Wow. This whole page is covered with a lot of words that do not answer a yes or no question. Could somebody just say "yes" so we can all move on?
On the other hand, having a nice, relaxing summer to just enjoy the baseball is something we've lost since the Angels first made the playoffs. Once you taste blood you want it again, me included. We all feel the pressure to, through sheer force of will, help make the team win. And that increases the hurt when they lose. It's a game. Watch, analyze, and most of all, enjoy the game. For almost their first 20 years all we had to do was watch or listen to a game and wait for some odd or amazing thing to happen, just for the fun of it. Admittedly, winning a little more than losing helps one go in with the feeling they have a chance of taking that game. But how cool was it to see Frank Howard snap a bat checking his swing? Or hit a home run on a checked swing? Both of those were against the Angels for all to see on TV. Or hearing Nolan Ryan throw multiple no-hitters? In one season! Or the amazing lineup of great players we got to see play against the Angels? Even when the Angels lose we may get to see some future HoF'er do something great against them. Just have a great summer and enjoy it!
Also, WRT questions like "is the Angels' season over?", one could calculate the kind of run the Halos would need to go on in order to win the division, but, apparently, the author of this piece wasn't interested in doing so. Pity.
Look. If you're going to try and answer questions like "whose fault is it", there are obvious places to go for answers, like, you know, Baseball-Reference.
<a href="/http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2013.shtml">Runs/game</a>: 4.41, <i>exactly</i> league average.
<a href="/http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2013.shtml#teams_standard_pitching::3">Runs/game allowed</a>: 4.76, well <i>over</i> the league average of 4.36, third worst in the league.
It doesn't help that Scioscia keeps running out Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols as though they were career-prime Hall of Famers, or even stars, because they're not. The offense is mediocre, the pitching is terrible. It's a combination sure to elicit a high draft pick next year, which is good, because they're gonna need it.