For a team that started off the season so hot, the Angels have found themselves falling off at a rapid rate, which puts them in a current 10-game losing streak. Sure, they’ve had a couple of tough breaks with injuries, but it just seems the team is stuck in rut. Let’s see what got them there, and what they need to do to break out.
It’s no question that injuries have played a role in the current losing streak. The team has been without shortstop David Fletcher for most of the season, which doesn’t seem to change anytime soon, and he was injured even when he did play. Teammate Anthony Rendon currently also finds himself on the IL, with wrist inflammation. On top of that, the Angels have had several players on and off the IL during the streak, including notable names such as Taylor Ward, Max Stassi, Kurt Suzuki, and Archie Bradley. In addition to the IL stints, Ward has been struggling with hamstring issues all season, finding himself listed as day-to-day for the majority of it, and Ohtani has had some back issues. There is no question that an influx of injuries could hurt a team, however, when a team goes through a stretch like this, there has to be more to it.
On top of the injuries, the starting rotation has almost fallen off completely. Earlier this season the Angels’ rotation dominated, which was a big reason for the team’s hot start, however, since then, the rotation has crumbled apart. During the losing streak, the rotation has held a 7.95 era and has only averaged 4.1 innings per start. This means that not only has the rotation been giving up plenty of runs, but, they have also failed to go deep into games, with not a single starter logging over 6.2 innings. This kind of production hardly sets a team up for success, and can not be blamed on any single starter. Each member of the rotation has had their own struggles, and these have shown in the rotation ERA.
The offense has done very little to back up the rotation, which is likely due to some key members’ struggles. In the last week, Mike Trout has only a .492 OPS with 2 runs, 1 home run, and 2 RBI. On top of that Shohei Ohtani has only a .833 OPS, 3 runs, 2 home runs, and 3 RBI. Breakout star Taylor Ward has slowed down a bit, with a .739 OPS, 3 runs, 1 home run, and 3 RBI. These numbers are not completely horrible, but when the rest of the team fails to do much else offensively, these numbers are not going to win you games. In fact, during the losing streak, the team has only averaged 2.8 runs per game, and that includes a 10-run outburst. In most cases, you are going to need to score more than 2-3 runs per game to win, especially when your rotation is not at its best.
What Needs to Happen?
We saw how hot the Angels can get, as was evidenced by their 24-13 start to the season. Now sitting at 27-27, it’s clear something needs to give. Surely players will slowly trickle back to health, however, they need to step it up in the meantime. It seems the team needs some sort of spark to get them going, which could come in the form of a promotion to prospect Davis Daniel. Daniel has pitched to a 2-1 record with a 3.86 this season in AAA and could be the spark plug the Angels are looking for. Those numbers aren’t extremely exciting, however, he could bring in a nice change to the team. The team has the players to make something happen when things are working, they just need to get things working. Other than moving around the roster, the Angels will need one of Trout or Ohtani to really get things going. If one of the team’s stars can pick it up and shift that energy onto their teammates, maybe they could get the rest of the team to follow along. Perhaps they just need to get back in the win column, and things could start rolling from there. Whatever it may be, it’s clear the Angels need to do something, and they need to do it fast.
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