By Tyler Ruby on August 5, 2014
After a couple of disappointing seasons, the Los Angeles Angels have finally put it all together, and they are in a battle with the Oakland Athletics in the A.L. West. They sit only one game back of the A's, and the current playoff format puts a premium on winning the division. If the Angels want to do that, then they need these five players to step up down the stretch.
For years, Jered Weaver was the ace of this staff, and while he has had a good year, he is no longer the No. 1 guy on the staff. Although he leads the team with 12 wins, his ERA is sitting at 3.59. He's clearly had better years, but the Angels need Weaver to return to ace status if they wish to compete with Oakland's pitching staff.
Albert Pujols' performance has dipped a bit since he left the St. Louis Cardinals, but he is still a feared, dangerous bat. Mike Trout can't carry the offense all the way to a World Series ring, he needs some help. Pujols needs to play well in August and get hot entering the playoffs.
David Freese has shown in the past that he can excel in the high-pressure situations, and he needs to do the same with the Los Angeles Angels. Freese may not be the biggest bat in the lineup, but he's an important bat at the hot corner. If he can get hot, the Angels lineup can look awfully scary.
The Angels will need C.J. Wilson to be great the rest of the year. The Angels need the three-headed attack of Garrett Richards, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson to be in top form in order to win the division, let alone win the World Series. Richards and Weaver have held up their end of the bargain, but Wilson needs to step up in a big way.
Josh Hamilton may be the most important bat in the middle of the Angels lineup. If he can be the left-handed power bat the Angels signed a few years ago, then the Angels can become a serious threat. The problem with Hamilton has always been staying healthy, so that may be the biggest hurdle for him to overcome. Hamilton needs to step his game up.
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