The beginning of September is traditionally the start of the stretch run of the baseball pennant races. For the Los Angeles Angels, their chances of making the post-season are about as good as those of Betty White winning a disco dancing contest, but they are in a totally different kind of chase: one toward respectability.
After stumbling through the first part of this 2020 “Ghost Season,” the Halos have finally managed to put the broken pieces together. The starting pitching has been solid and timely hitting has come back from Kokomo, or wherever it was hiding for the first half of the season.
With five wins in a row, the team is 5-1 in September and with a 17-25 record (good for fourth place in the American League West), there’s a reasonable chance of finishing third in the division, which just so happens to be where we predicted they’d end up in 2020.
The scoreboard tells the story. So far in September, the Orange County team is batting .300 (fourth best in baseball) and has an on-base percentage of .389, second best.
Mike Trout, after a forgettable August, is hitting .295 overall, with a .500 average for the month. He’s hit three home runs and drove in six, scoring nine times. Justin Upton is at .421 for September and Anthony Rendon is at .300 with two homers and five RBis.
The pitching is bit less impressive, but the team got some good performances, beginning with two strong starts by Andrew Heaney. He struck out 10 batters in the Angels’ 3-2 win over the Mariners on Aug, 28, and followed that up with a seven-inning three-hit stint Thursday vs. the Padres on Thursday (Halos won 2-0).
Now, the next four games – all wins – were more about slugging than pitching, but there’s a new attitude. Hope, and playing with a more focused outlook.
“I’ve been involved in some pretty dire-looking situations,” said manager Joe Maddon. “This week is pretty pertinent, but the most important game of the year is going to be Tuesday. And then the next game of the most important game of the year is going to be Wednesday. We have to reduce it to one day at a time. All the time, but it’s true. If we’re able to do that, you can see something good happening.”
After a day off today (Monday), the team is back in action Tuesday in Texas against the Rangers (13-26), the ALW’s last place team.
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Football, bless its pigskin heart, returns
Starving for pro football, even though you can’t yet buy a Rams Dog at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood?
Here’s your first bite. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will host the Houston Texans Thursday in a game to be televised on NBC at 5:20 p.m.
Sunday’s games include a fanless contest with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Rams at 5:20 in the Sunday Night Football telecast, following the Chargers visiting the Bengals in the Queen City at 1:05 p.m.
But the game with the most fan interest may well be the 1:25 p.m. game that has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the New Orleans Saints. Anyone want to see Tom Brady’s first NFL game not as a Patriot? We know you do.
Wild World of Sports is posted on Mondays.