Can Diamondbacks Hold off Dodgers | Can Angels stay afloat in AL West
by Brad Mullins Scores & Statson
It is much too early in the baseball season to start talking about “must win” anything but for the Angels, this might be the time! The Angels are still in this race and they have a legit shot in the AL West. The Mariners have been playing lights out baseball but split their home weekend series against Boston 2-2. Now they are on the road facing three in the Bronx and three in Fenway. Absolutely nothing gets easier for the Mariners. The time to strike for the Angels is now. The Diamondbacks are holding their own in the NL West with a game and a half lead over the Dodgers but they are not blowing the doors off of anybody and look for the Dodgers to take over very soon.
The Angels come into tonight’s game 9.5 out of first place behind the Astros, with an overall record of 38-34. This division is a doozey and the most competitive in all of baseball. With the Astros leading the way and squarely in the middle of an 11 game winning streak, the Mariners--a game and a halt out after losing 2 of 4 to Boston and the Oakland A’s in the 4th spot with a 36-36 record and 11.5 games out. The Rangers are the one team in the AL West with no chance whatsoever. They are awful and it shows at 19 games out of first place. Texas is the worst team in baseball with a 29-44 record.
Mike Trout is once again having an all-star-spectacular year and is leading every stat for the Angels. Trout is a game-changing player that the Angels would be dead in the water without. He is one of those always faithful, always necessary pieces of the puzzle.
One has to wonder how much gas is left in the tank for Mike Scioscia if he can’t turn the table very soon. The great run of 2002 was a very long time ago. The good news for Scioscia, he is the all-time leader in wins for the franchise as a manager. His current contract runs through the remainder of the 2018 season. Will the Angels resign the most winning manager in franchise history and the longest tenured manager currently in the game of baseball? Time will tell. The fans in Anaheim are patient people. They love their team and they have always been willing to wait, but let’s face the facts; it has been a long wait!
The Angels are facing a tough two-game series against a very consistent Diamondbacks ball club. Zack Greinke gets the call for the D’backs tonight with a 5-5 record going against Barria with a 5-2 record and a 2.61 ERA. One must wonder if Greinke will ever get back to form and although 5-5 isn’t terrible, it’s certainly not the Greinke of old.
The Angels are not on fire, they are playing well and hitting .247 as a team compared to a Diamondbacks squad that hitting for an average of .227. This is exactly why the Angels must step up and win these two before welcoming the Blue Jays for a four-game stand. Now is the opportunity that the Angeles have needed and been waiting for. If they let this one slip away, then they are simply not there yet.
This one could be a pitching duel tonight. Look for a well-played game between two teams that will pull out all of the stops defensively. Both teams need wins and it’s a difficult call to say who needs it worse. When trying to keep up with the red-hot Astros, the rule of thought is the Angels must win, however, looking at the Diamondback being pushed by the Dodgers, one almost has to say, the Diamondbacks need this one. It will be a great game and a perfect way to spend a Monday evening catching some very competitive baseball from the best division in baseball.