The Angels won a game on Sunday. It was a convincing victory. They dominated the defending World Series Braves champions 9-1. The starting shot was good. The insult was great. The bullpen sealed it off and the defense did their job.
It was the kind of game that has become completely alien to the Angels: when all phases of the club come together to perform well at the same time.
However, this victory changes little of the reality with which the angels deal. They sit 10 1/2 games outside of the wild card and 23 1/2 games outside of first place with just a week until the close. They are 15 games under .500.
The idea that the angels just have to get hot and run doesn’t really make sense anymore. Even the exploits of Shohei Ohtani alone can’t bring this team back to the competition.
There are 67 games left to play. A comeback is theoretically not excluded. But the quality of play that the team has shown underlines that this team seems far from competing.
Here’s a recap of the week it was for the 40-55 Angels.
The Angels beat the Braves 9-1. It was one of the few times recently where starting pitch, bullpen, offense and defense all came together in one game.
It’s the Angels’ first win that Ohtani hasn’t scored since June 27.
— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) July 24, 2022
Three above, three below
Reid Detmers (above): Detmers has a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings since being recalled by Triple A. He was generally more efficient and improved his slider. Detmers was also more effective at hitting batters.
Jose Quijada (above): Quijada has been the Angels’ best helper while he was active this season. The left-hander has a 2.12 ERA, and his fearless fastball remains an effective weapon.
Luis Rengifo (above): Rengifo always seems to be somewhere on this list. Its highs were very high and its lows were very low. In the 18 games ending June 29, Rengifo has scored in all but one of them. Even as the offensive fell apart, Rengifo stayed hot.
Michael Stefanic (below): Stefanic is in the midst of a 0-to-20 slump that spans a few weeks. He didn’t start every day. He kept in touch. It’s just that the contact isn’t hard and it doesn’t have the speed required to take punches in the field etc.
Jo Adell (below): Adell grabbed a 0-for-13 sled and had a nice diving game in left field on Sunday. But offensive and defensive still wobbled. His routes are an adventure and his turns sometimes seem overwhelmed.
Brandon Marsh (below): Marsh reached the base three times Sunday. But like Adell, his offense has been poor lately. He has struck at least once in each of his last 11 games and has had 18 strikeouts in his last 34 at-bats. As of May 24, Marsh has 65 strikeouts in 150 at-bats and a .173 average.
Five important statistics
• The Angels went five runs in the first inning on Sunday. It equaled the total number of runs the Angels had scored in the previous four games and represented their first lead in five full games. In addition, Ohtani was 0-2 in the innings.
• The Angels’ win on Sunday was their first win that Ohtani had not scored since 27 June.
• The Angels have an MLB lead of 932 strikeouts in 95 games this season. That’s an average of 9.81 strikeouts per game. For reference, the 2021 Cubs set the record for single-season strikeouts, averaging 9.85 per game.
• Ohtani had gone 45 2/3 innings and allowed just two earned runs. In Friday’s seventh inning, he conceded six earned runs while recording just one out.
• Jared Walsh had completed 70 at-bats between doubles before doubling in his last at-bat on Friday night. This began a stretch of three consecutive at-bats with a double.
quote of the week
“Obviously it’s been frustrating the past few weeks. We got off to a great start. We still have the same team. We know we can play at this level again. Obviously (Anthony) Rendon’s loss was great. He’s one of the greats in the lineup. I think we still have the second half of the season behind us. So you can’t just hang your head. … We’ll just have to get into the rhythm a bit and see where it goes.” — Mike Trout on July 18 when asked about his feelings on the direction of the angels.
Analysis of transactions
July 18 – Angels demand Phil Gosselin from waivers, place Mike Trout on IL: The Angels had Gosselin last year but didn’t offer him a contract. That addition doesn’t really move the needle for the Angels, who have really struggled to have quality major league depth at all positions. That being said, Gosselin is a solid player and a solid presence for the team to come back to. The severity of Trout’s chest injury is unclear, but it appears to have gotten worse than initial expectations a week earlier.
July 22 – Angels option David MacKinnon, remember Dillon Thomas: This move was mainly due to Gosselin being an infielder and he showed up when Trout was on the IL. As a result, the Angels needed an outfielder. As popular as MacKinnon was, there wasn’t much point in having a guy who’s pretty much just a backup first baseman.
Jul.24 – Angels DFA Jonathan Villar, selection contract from Magneuris Sierra: Villar has had a pretty terrible run with the Angels. His offense was terrible. His defense was worse. He was with the team for three weeks. Sierra, 26, doesn’t add much offensively. He was a role player with the Marlins and Cardinals. But he has speed and defense.
• Top contender Sam Bachman returned from Double-A IL to compete on Saturday for the first time since May 27th. He’s been to the IL twice this season with back spasms. He threw three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and knocking out four.
• OF prospect Jordyn Adams has risen sharply since being drafted into Double-A. He has .842 OPS in 17 games and hit his third homer on Saturday.
• Jimmy Herget (Double A) and David Fletcher (Triple A) continued rehab this week as they work to return to the Angels in the coming days.
• Promising Catch Edgar Quero has a 15-game winning streak for Single-A Inland Empire. He hits .433 during this stretch.
• Double-A starting contender Braden Olthoff had seven innings and one run this week.
• Triple-A starter Jake Kalish has been placed on the injured list. He has a 2.69 ERA this season.
• Double-A prospect Ky Bush hasn’t pitched more than 3 2/3 innings in his last three starts. He performed at the Future’s Game in Los Angeles last week.
(Photo of Max Stassi hitting the day: Butch Dill/Associated Press)