Going into tonight’s game in Chicago the Angels sit at 63-40 good for first place in the American League. While traditionally Mike Scioscia’s clubs have won with a combination of great pitching and timely hitting this season has been a little different. The Angels surge after the All-Star break has been in large part to their ridiculous offensive production. The Angels lead the American League with a .290 batting average. To put that number into perspective the second place New York Yankees are .13 off the Halos mark as a team. The Angels .451 slugging percentage combined with their penchant for stealing bases and hit and runs have created an offense without match, at least in July.
A glance at the League leaders in hitting is littered with Angels, and not necessarily with the names that you would expect.
6. Bobby Abreu .322 73 RBI
10. Juan Rivera .316 60 RBI
13. Chone Figgins .313 36 RBI
14. Erick Aybar .309 39 RBI
16. Torii Hunter .305 65 RBI
26. Kendry Morales .299 69 RBI
It is pretty safe to assume that if six of your lineup regulars are within the top-30 of the AL in terms of hitting that the team is doing alright. The Angels however have had well documented struggles when it comes to pitching. It also doesn’t help that last season in the ALCS against the Red Sox they saw firsthand what even a slight difference in pitching can make. Really it’s quite comical that Angels fans are so concerned. Most fan bases would be more than satisfied with a 4.5 game lead in their division in August coupled with the second best record in baseball.
If the Angels can get their pitching set this team will be nearly impossible to beat at it’s best. Management has to feel that is a realistic goal for the last two months. Between Santana, Lackey, Saunders, and Weaver there are several All-Star appearances, and complete game shutouts within the last two years. With 59 games to go and with the Rangers still lurking hopefully and postseason baseball looming it will bring out the best in the Angels pitching staff.
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Written by Nich Hall