Los Angeles Angels will face tough start to 2013 season

Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols talks to an umpire.
Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels’ title hopes rest heavily on a smooth start to 2013.

This afternoon, the Los Angeles Angels will finally put all the speculation behind them and begin their 2013 campaign.

The Halos won’t get a simple “feeling out” period, either — they’ll have to put their talent to the test right off the bat against several playoff teams of last year. First, the Los Angeles Angels will take a trip to the Great American Ballpark to take on the defending National League Central champions, the Cincinnati Reds. Next, they’ll face the Texas Rangers, who are always tough and looking to redeem last season’s disappointing finish. After they wrap up their road trip, the Los Angeles Angels head home to face the Oakland Athletics, who proved last season they are more than capable of making a run.

Everyone understands the Major League Baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint. However, the Angels need to get off to a strong start if they want to keep pace with a massively competitive AL West.

Last season, the Halos won their first game of the season, then the wheels started falling off. They dropped the next two, eventually going 7-15 in their first 22 games. They could not overcome their slow start and missed the playoffs.

The Angels will also have to deal with National League rules for their series with Cincinnati before reverting to American League rules when they head to Texas. The Angels are known to perform well in interleague play, but they may be dealing with a double-edged sword. The transition back into American League rules against such tough divisional opponents may leave them a bit out of whack.

In particular, they’ll need  a big boost from their lineup, whose abysmal start to last season included a 27-game homer-less drought for Albert Pujols. With Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton in the mix this time, the Angels have a better shot at getting off the ground in a more timely fashion. Mark Trumbo‘s performance in response to a disappointing second half of 2012 will be crucial.

Luckily for the Halos, Mike Scioscia‘s one-game-at-a-time approach is well suited for such a situation. If Scioscia stresses the mindset with his team as much as he does with reporters, the result should be some clear minds in the Los Angeles Angels dugout as they trudge through a very rough start to their season.

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