5 Things Los Angeles Angels Must Do to Contend
Los Angeles Angels
Though not quite halfway through the season, it's safe to say that the 2013 campaign has been a significant disappointment for the Los Angeles Angels, who would end up with around 70 wins for the year at their current pace — probably not what owner Arte Moreno had in mind when he signed Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to enormous contracts over the past two offseasons.
The blame cannot be laid solely at the feet of two men, however. The Angels have been dropping the ball in just about every area of play at various points this season, and it will take a more thorough turnaround effort to cure the Halos of what ails them.
Should Los Angeles fail to turn things around, it will be interesting to see what, if any, moves management makes to right the ship either by the July 31 trade deadline or in the offseason. The fact is, the Angels might not have the luxury of trades or major acquisitions to reverse their luck, as the team's farm system ranks dead last in the league, and the major acquisition route has clearly not worked out thus far. Even if Moreno wanted to blow up the team, it's unclear exactly how he'd be able to do that.
Nevertheless, the Angels are fortunate that the baseball season is a long one, and there are still 86 games left in which to right the ship. Though time is quickly running out, here are five things the Halos can do to turn this season around.
Get Josh Hamilton Going
Okay, let's start with the obvious. Hamilton has been terrible in every way for the Angels, who threw $125 million over five years at the slugger this past offseason. What have they gotten in return? How does .207 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs sound? Yeah, that needs to change for the Halos to have a fighting chance.
Restore Jered Weaver to Form
The towering, former Cy Young runner-up hasn't been quite himself all season long. Managing just two starts before fracturing an elbow in April, Weaver has yet to bounce back to his old self. His 4.65 ERA through seven starts is unacceptably high for a pitcher of his caliber, and the Halos will need him to find his old groove going into the season's second half.
Give Joe Blanton Some Run Support
Sure, Blanton's 5.26 ERA isn't exactly spectacular, but the Angels have averaged a mere 3.93 runs per game in his starts. That kind of anemic run support would frustrate far more capable pitchers than Blanton. In three of his last four starts, including Sunday's heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Blanton was spectacular, only to see his efforts bear no fruit as the team lost on all three occasions. If the Halos want to boost that atrocious 1-10 record, the offense will need to do its part.
Sure, every team tries to avoid injuries, but the Halos' need to keep their DL short is all the more pressing. When you're trying to make a big move up in the standings, you can ill afford to lose good players to injury. Let's hope the Halos have seen the worst of it with Weaver's April injury.
Stop Stranding Runners
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Angels need to get over their abandonment issues.
The team leaves 7.04 runners on base per game, 11th in the American League. With the RBI power in the Los Angeles lineup, that number is unacceptable. You can't score if you're leaving runners stranded, and that is exactly what the Halos have been doing. The offense and the team's winning percentage won't pick up until this nagging problem gets fixed.