With the Angels’ 2011 season hanging in the balance and facing a 1-0 deficit in the ninth, Mark Trumbo stepped into a fat pitch from Neftali Feliz and drove it right out of Angel Stadium. The two-run shot won the game for the Halos and may have revived the Angels’ dwindling playoff hopes.
Trumbo’s shot was magical, but the Angels still have their work cut out for them.
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The Halos don’t have to face a daunting eight-game deficit in the race for the AL West; instead, they find themselves a more manageable six games back. Still, six games is quite a hill to climb, and Texas has been a stranger to the loss column as of late.
The good news is the Rangers will have to face a much tougher schedule to end the regular season. Before 2011 is up, Texas will face Boston and Tampa Bay both at home and on the road. They will play the Angels six times leading up to the playoffs.
For the Halos, the landscape is a little more favorable, but the dominant Yankees will headline the remainder of their season schedule. The Angels’ final three games of the season will be against the very same Rangers they hope to overcome.
The opportunity is there for the Halos to seize, but the fact of the matter is they’re still going to have to work for it. The team has, lately, beaten itself more than anybody else, particularly on offense. They’re going to have to work something out to overcome their offensive incompetence, and a little help from lady luck wouldn’t hurt, either.
Mike Scioscia, possibly sensing the urgent situation at hand, has adjusted his lineup accordingly. Jeff Mathis, a longtime offensive failure, has finally been benched in favor of a competition between youngsters Hank Conger and Bobby Wilson. Mike Trout is back in the majors to bolster the defensive outfield while Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells alternate stints at the DH spot.
Scioscia’s roster moves are much appreciated, but they have come far too late into the season. It was apparent as soon as the season began that Wells and Abreu would be a drag in left field. Mathis hasn’t shown signs of improvement since October of 2009, and an outfield consisting of both Bourjos and Trout is the stuff dreams are made of.
Angel fans can still be thankful for the changes, regardless of how late it is. It’s a breath of fresh air. More importantly, it’s an opportunity for the Angels to get better in the face of elimination.
Let’s hope it’s enough.