After two seasons of disappointment, the Los Angeles Angels have finally broken through and reached the postseason by winning the American League West, in addition to posting the best record in the AL. This Angels team has a lot of weaknesses, though, especially in the pitching staff, which has been hurt by injuries.
Jered Weaver is the clear ace of this team going into the postseason with Garrett Richards out, but even Weaver has been unreliable at times this year, with a 3.59 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Finding someone to back him up will be crucial to the Angels postseason success. The Angels need C.J. Wilson to get back to his old form, coming off the worst season of his career. Matt Shoemaker has, at times, looked like the answer to replace Richards this season, but he’s struggled lately and dealt with some injuries. The Angels also can’t feel too confident in Hector Santiago starting games in the postseason. There is no doubt this team will go as far as its offense takes them, but the starting pitching will, at least, need to be decent for them to have a shot at advancing and winning the World Series.
Good Mike Trout
Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, but he’s had his share of ups and downs this season. Not to mention, this will be Trout’s first time playing on a stage of this magnitude. It’s also well known that Trout has had some problems with the strikeout in his career — only Ryan Howard (189) has more K’s than Trout (183) in the majors heading into Sunday. With the dominant arms he’ll be facing out of the bullpen in crucial situations, it will be important for the Angels’ best player to be the MVP-type player that he is.
The Angels made some good moves during the season to sure up one of its most glaring weaknesses: the bullpen. As it is for every team in the postseason, it’s important that the bullpen be in lock-down mode. Houston Street, Jason Grilli and Joe Smith need to be lights-out as they’ll be relied on heavily with the Angels starting pitching being in rough shape.
David Freese magic
We all know about the heroics of David Freese from two years ago. Since then, though, he’s been average at best as a hitter. In the postseason, there is always that one player you don’t expect to come forth who helps carry a team to a World Series. We’ve seen Freese do it before, and if the Angels are going to win, they need Freese to find some of that postseason magic he had with the Cardinals.
Josh Hamilton be Josh Hamilton
First of all, Josh Hamilton needs to prove he’s healthy. He played in less than 100 games this year, and it’s questionable whether or not he’ll be ready for the postseason. Hamilton’s presence in this lineup would be huge for the Angels. He may not be the MVP-type player he was a few years ago, but opposing pitchers know what he’s capable of, and having him behind Albert Pujols will lengthen that lineup.