From the emergence of Jered Weaver as an elite starter to the wretched start of Vernon Wells and back to Howie Kendrick's breakout first half, the Angels first half of the season has seen a lot of ups and downs. At the end of it all, they stand at 50-42 and poised for what could be an epic battle with the Rangers for the 2011 AL West division title.
If the Angels are going to emerge victorious come the end of the season, they are going to need to keep getting strong performances from the kids and the veterans alike, but what they need more than anything is Torii Hunter to step his game up and lead the team on the field as well as he leads them in the clubhouse.
The Angels first-half success was predicated on their outstanding pitching, something they can expect to sustain them in the second half. Even with the continued dominance of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, the Angels are far from a lock to regain their AL West crown, not with the offense always a looming threat to drag the team down. But as we have seen the last few weeks, if the lineup can produce with some consistency, the Angels are very difficult to beat. Figuring out how to keep that offensive momentum going should be the team's paramount concern the rest of the way.
Since addressing that issue via trade is looking less and less likely, the Angels will have to look within to keep their offensive fire lit. They shouldn't have to look far though as one man has the ability to stoke those flames: Torii Hunter.