|07-17-2002, 01:07 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Marshalltown, Iowa
Anaheim Could Win the AL West
Do the Anaheim Angels have what it takes to fly past the Seattle Mariners and win the AL West? As of July 17th the Angels trail first place Seattle by only three games with a record of 54-38. The Angels are tied with the Oakland Athletics for second place.
Most experts and baseball fans thought it would be a race only between Seattle and Oakland. Why are the Angels staying in contention and playing so well? There are a few answers to that question.
One reason is the Angels pitching. They currently rank fourth in team pitching in the A.L. Their ace pitcher Jarrod Washburn is the main reason they are ranked so high in pitching. Washburn has won 11 straight decisions. He is 11-2 with an ERA of 3.03. He has the longest winning streak in the majors this year. He has also set a club record with 11 straight wins in a season. Ex-Angel pitcher Chuck Finley holds the overall record with 14 straight wins, but that was done in two consecutive seasons.
Washburn helped his team beat the Minnesota Twins yesterday 4-2. It wasnít his best outing, but a win is a win.
Another reason for the Angelís success this season was the acquisition of pitcher Aaron Sele from the the Mariners during the off-season. He hasnít pitched that great so far this season, but he has earned seven wins for his new club. His ERA is high at 5.08, but manager Mike Scioscia feels he will pitch better during the second half of the season. He will have to for the Angels to have any chance of winning their division.
The Angels also acquired Kevin Appier during the off-season. He played for the New York Mets in 2001. He is 7-7 with an ERA of 4.68. Anaheim needs him to step up and win 15 or more games.
Pitcher Ramon Ortiz has pitched well at times. He is 8-7 with an ERA of 3.80. He leads the pitching staff in strikeouts with 97. The Angels have one of the best closers in all of baseball, Troy Percival. He has 22 saves and an ERA of 2.15. Currently, he is on the DL, but shouldnít be out too long. He suffered a foot injury while boating. Filling in for him will be Ben Weber who is 4-2 with two saves.
Another good reason for the Angels success is their offense. They rank third in the A.L. in batting. Seattle ranks fourth and Oakland eighth. The Angels can certainly score some runs and that is what it takes in the A.L. to win. Iím not saying there is no great pitching in the A.L., but in the A.L., teams are well known for scoring runs.
Outfielder Garrett Anderson leads the Angels offense this season so far. He is batting .287 with 17 homeruns and 69 RBIís. He leads the team in homeruns, RBIís, hits and doubles. He has 107 hits and 31 doubles so far. Heís very capable of putting up big numbers. In the 2001 season he knocked in 123 runs, while hitting 28 homeruns. He should match or surpass those numbers this season.
Another Angel well known for putting up monster numbers is third baseman Troy Glaus. He is second on the team in RBIís with 62. He has 15 homeruns. He hit 41 homeruns in 2001 and 47 in 2000. It appears that he wonít match those numbers this season, but he should surpass his RBI total of a year ago. He drove in 108 runs last season. He doesnít hit for a high average, but he drives in runs. That is what is most important.
Outfielder Tim Salmon is contributing a lot this year. He has 14 homeruns and 56 RBIís so far. He had an awful season in 2001. He only hit 17 homeruns and knocked in 49 runs, while batting only .227. Heís doing so much better this season. He leads the team in OBP with a .377 average. Getting on base a lot is very important as you well know.
Outfielder Darin Erstad is having a good year too. He is batting .295 and has knocked in 51 runs. He leads the team in stolen bases with 15. It appears that everybody is contributing on offense this season. That is what it takes to win. It must be a team effort.
Anaheim has some important games coming up this week. Starting July 17th they have a two game series against Oakland, then starting this Friday they have a weekend series with first place Seattle. Iím very anxious to see how they play against their rivals this week. The games against Seattle will be at home.
In closing, Anaheim does have what it takes to win their division. The franchise has never won a pennant or gone to the World Series. I think they are way overdue donít you? Iím just not sure if teams with nicknames like the Angels or Saints are allowed to win it all. Think about it. See you at the game.
Keith "baseball nut" Thronson
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