With a 6-2 win over the Seattle Mariners at the Big A, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Sunday closed the books on another somewhat disappointing season. The Halos finished with an 80-82 record, good enough for second place in the American League West, but not good enough for a wild card spot and marking a second consecutive below .500 campaign.
Eric Young hit a three-run home run in the seventh as the key blow in a six-run explosion that broke open a scoreless tie. Parker Bridwell (10-3) got the win and finished the season as the pitcher with the best record on the team.
The Angels were in the driver’s seat at one point with a 75-72 record and a grip on the second American League wild card berth, but then went into a tailspin, losing 10 of their last 15 games.
As a team, the Halos batted .243 in 2017; that’s 28th out of 30 major league teams. The pitching was much better, recording a 4.20 ERA (12th) despite being ravaged by what seemed to be a never-ending series of injuries.
On the plus side, the Angels are well-positioned to dive deeply into the free agent market. They’ve finally gotten Josh Hamilton’s contract off the books, and still have Mike Trout, arguably the best player in baseball.
For the time being, manager Mike Scioscia’s job is secure. Owner Arte Moreno is not the kind of guy to play musical chairs with leadership because of an injury-scarred season. You could even say that the Angels overachieved, staying in the post-season picture until the very last week of the season, and taking second in the AL West when most prognosticators tabbed them for fourth at best.
On the other hand, if we’re writing this same column next October – “Injury-plagued Angels miss playoffs again” – the slight grumbling you hear now from fans could turn into a much louder roar, which even owners ignore at their peril.
High Five: Mariners bump Edison into second
The non-league season is over for local high school football teams, and there’s a new top-rated team this week for the Tribune’s ranking of squads in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area.
After a one-sided win over Alison Niguel on Friday, the Pacifica Mariners are 5-0 and our number one. All five of their wins have been blowouts, and QB Ben Jefferson has emerged as one of the most outstanding players in the county.
The M’s also have a strong running game, a stout line on both sides of the ball and a defense that’s held opponents to one touchdown or less in four of their five games.
Edison (3-2) is second after losing a close 23-20 game to San Clemente. In third we have a surprising La Quinta (5-0) team that beat previously unbeaten Century 35-25 on Friday.
Rounding out our High Five are Orange (5-0) and Ocean View (4-1). Westminster (4-1) remains on the bubble.
Some interesting league openers this week. Garden Grove League favorite La Quinta will take on Garden Grove (1-3) on Friday. The Argonauts are the five-time defending GGL champs, and the road to the title may well run through Stanford Avenue.
In the Golden West League, first week matchups include Westminster at Santa Ana (4-1) and Ocean View at Segerstrom (4-1).
Monday Morning Coach is written by Pete Zarustica.