Angels relegated to scoreboard watchers
September, 18, 2012
By Peter Yoon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesMike Trout scores a run during an eight-run fourth inning Tuesday in a victory over the Texas Rangers.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels kept up their end of the bargain in their search for a playoff berth with an 11-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, but the reality is that winning out the rest of the season might not be enough.
The Angels need help.
It's a reality no competitor likes to hear, but the Angels entered Tuesday three games behind the Baltimore Orioles and 4 1/2 behind the Oakland Athletics for the two wild-card spots, and the Angels don't play either of those teams head to head in their remaining 14 games this season.
"We're probably going to need some teams to stub their toe a little bit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Angels got the first bit of help Tuesday in the form of an A's loss to the Detroit Tigers and pulled to within 3 1/2 games of Oakland. The Orioles also looked to be lending a helping hand before they scored two runs in the ninth against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday and sent the game to extra innings. Scioscia said his club is pretty aware of what is happening on the out-of-town scoreboard.
"There is a time when it's relevant and a time when it's not relevant," Scioscia said. "It's relevant now."
Oakland has a remaining schedule that gives the Angels some semblance of hope. The A's began a 10-game trip Tuesday that includes two more games at second-place Detroit, three games at the first-place New York Yankees and four games at first-place Texas.
Baltimore is at the last-place Seattle Mariners, then goes to the fourth-place Boston Red Sox before a homestand against the last-place Toronto Blue Jays and three more against the Red Sox.
Scioscia acknowledged he has taken a peek at the schedules of the teams in front of his.
"Not every team has got an easy road," Scioscia said. "The teams that we're trying to catch, they're going to have to earn it, too. They have to go out there and win."
Angels pitcher Jered Weaver said there are almost always games on TV in the clubhouse, and that it's to the point now that the Angels' players have taken to rooting against Baltimore and Oakland.
"Yeah, I guess so," Weaver said. "There have been games on, and guys are like, 'Who do we root for here?' It's fun in that regard."
Results from Baltimore and Oakland mean little, however, if the Angels don't keep winning. They are doing their part, winning for the 15th time in 20 games Tuesday, but a rough stretch in August that included 13 losses in 18 games put the team in a position of needing to climb.
"We need to continue to win and put ourselves in a position and take advantage if other teams don't play at a certain level," Scioscia said.
Losing three of four at home in a series against Oakland last week, however, took control of the wild-card race away from the Angels and put them in the unenviable position of needing some help to make the playoffs.
"At points in the season, we were [in control], and obviously we stumbled a little and lost some of that control," Scioscia said. "We're playing at a level now that we can put pressure on other teams to have to keep up a certain pace that's tough to do in baseball, and that's what we need to do."
But getting help in the form of losses by Baltimore and Oakland won't amount to much, Scioscia said, if the Angels don’t keep winning.
"Really, it's not going to mean anything if we don't take care of the games that we are playing," Scioscia said. "The best way to pressure teams that are ahead of you is to win. That's what we have control of."