For a franchise that was expected to compete for a World Series in 2013 and actually has the talent on their roster to do so, the Los Angeles Angels record of 11-20 through their first 31 games is simply unacceptable.
With a lineup and payroll that can best be described as Yankee-esque, equaling the franchise record for their worst start in team history wasn’t exactly part of the plan for this season. Having acquired arguably the two most sought-after power hitters during the 2011 and 2012 offseasons in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, this is a franchise that was built for only one thing, winning.
Unfortunately for the Angels however, Sunday’s 8-4 loss to the surging Orioles was a prime example of what has been a very frustrating season thus far.
Led by starting pitcher Jason Hammel, who gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings of work, the Orioles offense recieved a boost from third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop JJ Hardy in the form of a pair of two-run homers.
“We have to do a much better job making pitches, getting hitters out and controlling the defensive side of this game,” manager Mike Scioscia said, via the Associated Press. “We’ve been terrible at that. We’ve been absolutely awful at controlling the defensive side — not so much the guys on the field, as much as setting a tone on the mound.”
Hammel improved to 5-1 on the year while reliever Darren O’Day came in to secure the win.
Making his first start of the year, Jerome Williams (1-1), lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on four hits, while walking three Orioles and fanning six in the loss.
Currently sitting in the A.L. West basement above only the 8-24 Houston Astros, the Angels pitching staff has yet to recover after losing Jered Weaver to the disabled list on April 8 with a broken bone in his non-throwing arm.
On a positive note however, Weaver, who is among the league’s best when healthy, will likely be cleared to start throwing off of a mound this week which should provide a much needed boost of confidence to a pitching staff that owns a major league worst 4.78 earned run average.
The Angels, who enjoy an off day Monday, are hoping that a three game set with the afforementioned Astros is exactly what this team needs to get back on track. Game one is set for Tuesday in Houston and starting the first game of the series will be CJ Wilson (3-0), 4.04 era for the visitors, while Jordan Lyles (0-0), 3.60 era will toe the rubber for the hosts.
The battle of the A.L West cellar dwellars will conclude on Thursday, immediately followed by a trip to Chicago where the Angels will bring their MLB-worst, four road wins to face the Chisox for a weekend series.