With so many massive signings, the Los Angeles Angels were the talk of baseball. Similar in tune to the Boston Red Sox of 2011, who made huge splashes with 1B Adrian Gonzalez and LF Carl Crawford. Like those Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels are sputtering in a monumentally disappointing fashion.
The problems start with their two free agent signings. A major concern was the eventual decline of 1B Albert Pujols after a number of years as his age advances. Even though Albert Pujols will push 40 by the mid-point of his contract, he was expected to have a series of monster seasons as soon as he reached Los Angeles. Right now in the major statistic categories amongst Major League first basemen Pujols ranks 22nd in batting average and dead last among regular and uninjured first basemen with five RBI’s and zero home runs. It is safe to say that the change of scenery has not been refreshing for “The Machine.”
LHP C.J. Wilson is a terrific pitcher. Looking to factor in behind true ace Jered Weaver, Wilson was bound to come home to his native California. Wilson was supposed to serve the role as the victorious lefty; a merciless change of pace following an opening with Weaver. Wilson has a respectable ERA which right now 38th in baseball. Some of the hot starters above him will fizzle out in time. Wilson also has a winning record, but has not dominated as he was expected.
Baseball is a game of numbers. The numbers do not lie. The Los Angeles Angels team stats are as follows: 22nd in batting average, 19th in hits, 23rd in runs, and 19th in home runs. They do not fall rock bottom in any team hitting category, but for a group slated to win a title, this is inexcusable.
Their pitching stats are slightly better, surely Coach Mike Scioscia is thanking the heavens for Jered Weaver. Recently CP Jordan Walden was deposed, the ‘pen not withstanding from their pitching issues. Even with OF Mike Trout, the Angels have to be clicking on all cylinders to have a lineup that rivals their division foes the Texas Rangers. Some have forgotten that outside of a performing Albert Pujols and the speed at the top of the order there are little definitive weapons with the bat. Mark Trumbo, Kendry Morales, and Howie Kendrick look to be solid contributors, but none of those three are the type of complementary option that Nelson Cruz is to Josh Hamilton.
Without hitting potency, the struggles of the bullpen will grow as the Angels will play from behind. There is plenty of ball to play, but this could get ugly.