ANGELS NEED TO ADD POWER TO SURVIVE DOWN THE STRETCHBy Arash Markazi
It seems every year we're having the same conversation about the Angels. They need to acquire another bat to make a post-season push.
This year is no different.
Quite simply, if they can get more power in their lineup they will win the AL West. If they don't, well, they'll shrink down the stretch and can plan an early vacation along with the Dodgers.
The fact that the Angels, who are currently in second place in the AL West behind the Texas Rangers, have spent 24 days in first place the first half of the season with their current squad shows how close they are to winning the division and making some noise in the postseason.
The Angels have scored 355 runs on 810 hits with a batting average of .257 and have hit the fifth fewest home runs in the American League. They are a middle of the pack offensive team the American League and will need to improve if they're going to win the division. You simply can't have regular starters batting around .200 if you want to contend.
In past years it would have been nice to add a bat to the lineup, but this year it's an absolute necessity. The only thing possibly holding them back from that is Angels owner Arte Moreno being against increasing his payroll, but he's never allowed a few (million) dollars to get in the way of improving his team and I can't imagine he will start now.
THERE'S MORE TO THE WINNING EQUATION THAN HOME RUNSBy Ramona Shelburne
The Angels are have scored the fourth-fewest runs in the American League this season, so of course they could use the proverbial "big bat" at the trading deadline. But wanting and needing something are different in baseball, particularly for a team like the Angels who have largely sustained a decade of success by doing things differently than everybody else.
The Angels have won, year in and year out, with pitching, defense and small-ball. They have that kind of team again this year with aces Dan Haren and Jered Weaver at the top of the rotation, defensive whiz Peter Bourjos in centerfield and an underrated infield. The biggest question this team has is not whether it can hit more home runs (the Angels 76 HRs are just 10th in the AL), but whether it can get its on-base-percentage up over .330 or .340, where the elite run-producing teams like the Red Sox (.354), Yankees (.340), Tigers (.332) and Rangers (.331) are. The Angels had just an average team on-base percentage (.319) at the All-Star break.
The injury to Kendrys Morales was devastating, and yes, the Angels have never really replaced his production in the offense. But if there's one team used to doing more with less, it's Mike Scioscia's Angels.