Time is definitely not on the Angels' side. They trail the Athletics and Orioles by five games in the loss column with just 12 games left to play, and have no more head-to-head games left with either team.
In other words, they need a ton of help.
Ervin Santana might provide some
Ervin Santana's 2012 season
Ervin Santana is on the mound for the Halos Friday. After being dreadful early on this season, Santana has been one of the Angels' better starters lately.
He has allowed five or fewer hits in nine straight starts. The only starting pitcher with a longer such streak this season is Francisco Liriano (11 straight). Prior to this stretch, the right-hander had never even had a four-start streak of five-or-fewer hits in his career.
But things could get dicey if they need Frieri to close out a win
Thursday marked another ugly outing for Ernesto Frieri. He took the loss after giving up a tie-breaking two-run shot to Adrian Beltre on a hanging curveball right over the heart of the plate. That’s simply a mistake you can’t make to one of the hottest hitters in baseball.
Since giving up just eight hits in 26 1/3 innings to start his Angels career, Frieri has looked extremely human. In his last 23 outings, spanning 21 2/3 innings, he’s given up 14 ER, blown three saves and taken two losses.
Fatigue doesn’t seem to be the issue. Frieri’s average fastball velocity is 95.0 MPH since the All-Star Break, which is up from the 93.5 MPH he averaged prior to the break.
The problem is right-handed hitters have figured out his fastball. After hitting just .089 with no homers against Frieri’s fastball prior to the break, they are hitting .333 with five homers since.
Righties aren’t chasing Frieri’s fastball out of the zone as much as they were in the first half of the season (35.8 chase pct before the break; 25.6 pct since).
And don't look now but Mike Trout may be hitting the wall
It’s difficult to find fault with Mike Trout, but the Angels' MVP candidate has definitely slowed down in the last couple of months of the season. Trout finished July hitting .353 and slugging .608, but is hitting .274 and slugging .452 since the start of August.
After going 0-4 with two strikeouts in Thursday’s loss, Trout is just 1-14 in the Angels' last four games.