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Chad Stewart

What the Angels need to do to make the postseason

With the conclusion of last Sunday’s games, MLB’s first half officially came to a close. And the Angels, along with most of the American League, are still very much alive in the postseason hunt. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

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Angels beat Yu Darvish and the Rangers behind solid JC Ramirez outing

He walked five batters and only struck out two in six innings, but JC Ramirez didn’t allow a run, leading the Angels to a 3-0 victory to wrap up the first half of season on a positive note. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

Angels lose to Rangers 5-2 as offensive struggles continue

After losing 10-0 to the Rangers in the first game of the series last night, the Angels lost 5-2 tonight to fall to 44-47 on the season. Jesse Chavez started for the Angels and was not particularly effective, allowing three runs on seven hits in just five innings. Tyson Ross, the Rangers’ starter, was better, permitting one run in 5 23 innings.

Texas’ scoring against Chavez came on a first-inning RBI double by Nomar Mazara and an Adrian Beltre two-run shot in the third. After 94 pitches, Chavez was pulled in favor of Blake Parker, who surrendered a two-run home run to rookie Drew Robinson in the sixth.

Wasted opportunities were abound for the Angels in this one. In the first, Cameron Maybin drew a leadoff walk, but he was promptly picked off. In the fourth, the Angels put runners on first and second with two down for Ben Revere, but he grounded out. In the fifth, Nick Franklin was hit by a pitch with one out, which Maybin followed up with another walk, but Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols both popped out to first base. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

Padres Former Top Prospects Producing Mixed Results in the Majors

The Padres rebuilding phase began last year, but 2017 is the year they really turned the team over to their young players, fielding a younger crop of position players this year than any other team in the majors. Among the players that have been given everyday roles on the Padres are three of their top prospects: Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Austin Hedges.

During their first prolonged exposure to the major leagues, they’ve performed adequately; though, none have exceeded expectations. Continue reading at Padres Prospectus.

Series preview: Angels @ Rangers (Wild Wild Card Race)

There are currently eight teams within four games of either American League Wild Card spot. At 44-45 and 2.5 games back, the Angels are one of them and at 41-44 and 3.5 games back, the Rangers are another.

The Rangers have lost seven of their last 10 games and have dropped three consecutive series. The Angels have also struggled recently, having lost their previous two series.

The two teams haven’t met since April when they squared off in three-game sets in each city and split the six games. The Rangers and Angels are as evenly matched as they come, but they have opposite strengths and weaknesses. While the Angels own the fifth-best team ERA in the American League, the Rangers rank 10th. And while the Rangers have scored the third-most runs in the AL, the Angels come in at 12th.

Mike Trout is set to return after the upcoming All-Star break, so the Rangers offer one final test for an Angels team that has survived an injury that was supposed to doom their postseason aspirations. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

Wil Myers’ Uninspiring Season

Prior to the 2015 season, the Padres acquired Wil Myers in a three-team trade that saw them surrender a couple of prized prospects in right-hander Joe Ross and five-tool player Trea Turner. When Myers suffered through injuries and Ross showed promise in his first taste of the big leagues in 2015, it initially appeared as though the Padres had gotten the short end of the deal.

But then San Diego moved Myers from the outfield to first base permanently at the start of last season, and he put together a stellar first half, earning him the first All-Star selection of his career. In 87 games before the 2016 All-Star break, Myers hit .286/.351/.522 (134 wRC+) and swiped 15 bases. Suddenly, it looked like the Padres were right to bet on Myers reaching the potential he flashed in his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign in 2013, producing a lethal combination of speed and power.

In the second half, however, Myers fell off dramatically, slashing just .226/.316/.381 (91 wRC+). Despite the dropoff, he ended the season with a solid .797 OPS and fell just a couple of stolen bases and homers shy of a 30-30 season, collecting 28 of each. This was also the first time in the 26-year-old’s short career that his season wasn’t marred by injuries since his rookie year in 2013.

Banking on Myers’ first half being more reflective of his true talent level rather than his disappointing second half, the Padres decided to lock Myers up for the foreseeable future, signing him to a six-year, $83 million contract extension that will keep him in San Diego through the 2022 season. The front office envisioned him to be the type of player who will keep fans in seats while the club endures an arduous rebuilding process, as well as a player who could be a cornerstone of future contenders.

But now, a few months into his new contract, Myers has produced middling results. He is currently hitting an unspectacular .264/.339/.490 (118 wRC+) with 16 home runs. For comparison’s sake, the average major-league first baseman has produced a 120 wRC+ this year. Continue reading at Padres Prospectus.

The Angels bullpen is getting its ace back

Entering the season, the Angels bullpen appeared to be the club’s most obvious weakness; it was filled with castoffs, unproven youngsters, and past-their-prime veterans. However, the bullpen has actually turned out to be one of the team’s bright spots thus far.

The group’s 3.62 ERA ranks eighth in baseball and fifth in the American League. This unexpected success has been the result of a few standout performances from pitchers like Blake Parker, Bud Norris, David Hernandez, and Yusmeiro Petit. And the success of the team’s relief corps has been even more surprising due to the fact that the three relievers who were expected to be the Angels’ best—Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian, and Huston Street—have been hurt for most, if not all, of the season.

But later today, Bedrosian, the best of those three, is set to be activated from the disabled list, adding a true relief ace to an already dependable bullpen. Bedrosian came into his own last season, and he was continuing that dominance this year before succumbing to an injury a few weeks into the season. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

How the Angels are surviving without Mike Trout

The Angels just took two out of three games from a Houston Astros team that owns the best record in baseball. In their two victories in Houston, the Angels won by a combined 11 runs while they were outscored by just two runs in the lone game they lost.

With that series win, the Angels are now 33-33 on the season and 7-6 since Mike Trout’s trip to the disabled list was supposed to derail the team’s season. Before Trout’s injury, the Angels already had very little margin for error because of the slew of injuries to key pieces of their pitching staff, and Trout’s injury only compounded the matter.

To survive in the wake of such an impactful injury with no room for error meant excelling at the little things and receiving contributions from unexpected places, and the Angels have done both so far. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

Series preview: Braves @ Angels (Simba’s revenge?)

After a disappointing road trip that saw the Angels drop six out of 10 games to bring their record to 26-27, the Angels welcome the Braves to town. Atlanta is currently tied for second place in the NL East at 21-27, and they lost one of the game’s top players, Freddie Freeman, to an injury a couple of weeks ago. They’ve scored one more run than the Angels this year, which slots them at 17th in the majors in that category, and they are 24th in team ERA.

The Braves are in the midst of a rebuilding process, which is why Andrelton Simmons is an Angel and the reason the Angels should have the advantage in this series. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

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