Results tagged ‘ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ’
As I begin writing this, we’re only 21 hours away from the first pitch of the 2013 MLB season. Last year left a sour taste in my mouth (as it did for everyone who isn’t a San Francisco Giants fan), so I’m looking for a chance to change that.
It doesn’t matter which team you find yourself rooting for, everyone feels like this year could be the year (unless you’re an Astros or Marlins fan, you might want to wait a few more years) that they’re team finally wins it all. I normally always try to do a prediction blog before the season begins, and that’s what I’m going to do. If normal predictions bore you, check out my other BLOG where I’ve made a few more wild predictions.
Without further ado:
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Although I do love the diehard Athletics (and I really do hope they support the A’s like they did during October last year), I just don’t see them being able to pull of a repeat this year. This isn’t to say I don’t think they’ll be in contention, but I think they’re looking at a Wild Card. The only thing I can realistically see preventing the Angels from winning their division is if the starting rotation falls apart.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers- The Tigers went to the World Series last year and there’s really no reason why they can’t find themselves back in the hunt again this year. On paper, the Tigers have only gotten better (Torii Hunter in right field instead of Brennan Boesch, Victor Martinez instead of Delmon Young at DH and a full season of Omar Infante at 2B). A lot of critics say that the Tigers will struggle without a proven closer, but I don’t think that will be a big enough issue to keep them from winning their division.
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays- If there’s a division that puzzles me, it’s without a doubt the AL East. Realistically, every team in the division has a legitimate argument that they could win the division. You can’t say that with really any other division, and that’s what makes predicting this so difficult. My thoughts are that the Yankees are falling apart (age and injuries), Boston has to prove they can turn it around with a new coach and Baltimore will likely take a step back compared to last year. You’re probably thinking, ‘What about the Blue Jays?’ No, I didn’t forget about them. The bulk of the players they traded for were from Miami, and the Marlins were pretty terrible last year. I’m not so sure that they’ll be able to win in Toronto, either.
Wild Cards: Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers- The Blue Jays are obviously talented and if they can stay healthy (especially Jose Bautista, Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow), there’s no reason why they won’t find themselves playing in October. They have the offensive weapons, but their pitching needs to improve.
I think Oakland will start off strong, but slowly fade as the Rangers surge in the second half. The Rangers have a ton of talent, and I’m worried about whether or not the Athletics can do it again. The Athletics and Rangers both will benefit from playing the Astros a lot more, that’s why I can’t see two Wild Cards coming from the AL East.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers- Hard to bet against Magic Johnson and the newly revamped Dodgers. They’ve spent enough money to win their division (in theory), and I don’t think the San Francisco Giants or Arizona Diamondbacks will be able to slow them down enough to pass them in the standings.
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds- I think the Reds are under appreciated and it’s only a matter of time before everyone figures it out. They have a lot of young core talent which compliments their solid rotation. Oh yeah, their closer can also throw 105 MPH.
NL East: Washington Nationals- Although the Atlanta Braves added the Upton brothers to their outfield, I still think they’re going to go through too many stretches of not scoring runs. Don’t believe me? Look at the Detroit Tigers last year, when they had a similar type of team. When you’re relying on power, you often go through stretches where you’re not scoring runs.
Wild Cards: San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves- Hard to count out the defending World Series champions, especially when you consider the fact they haven’t lost any real significant pieces from their 2012 team. The Braves have enough pitching and offense that they should be able to beat up on the Mets and Phillies, squeaking out a Wild Card in the final week of the season.
AL MVP: Prince Fielder
NL MVP: Joey Votto
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Victor Martinez
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Roy Halladay
AL Rookie of the Year: Nick Castellanos
NL Rookie of the Year: Jedd Gyorko
World Series: Detroit Tigers over the Washington Nationals in 6 games
If you ask every general manager in Major League Baseball who they’d want to pitch in a must-win game, it’s pretty fair to say that the overwhelming majority would choose one guy, Justin Verlander. Luckily for the Detroit Tigers, that’s who’s starting tonight in game five of the American League Division Series. With a win, the Tigers will move on to play the winner of the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees series. If they lose, their season will come to a surprising end.
Expectations have been high for the Tigers all year long. In fact, the Tigers were considered the runaway favorites to not only win their division, but to have a legitimate chance of making it to the World Series. Well, if this year has taught us anything, it’s that expectations don’t necessarily lead to results.
Few predicted that the Oakland Athletics would have made it to the playoffs, let alone find a way to finish the year ahead of both the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and win the American League West division, but that’s exactly what they’ve done.
On the other side of the country, most fans and experts thought the Baltimore Orioles were anything better than a .500 team in the hardest division in all of baseball. Much like the Athletics, the Orioles found a way to make it into the playoffs by claiming one of two wild card spots. Of course when they were matched up against the Rangers in a winner-take-all elimination match, most figured that’s when their story would be over. Instead, they pulled another upset and advanced to the ALDS.
So what does this all mean? Simply put, that baseball is a wonderful and unpredictable game. Even though the Tigers are expected to win tonight and advance to the American League Championship Series, you cannot assume it’s going to happen. It’s baseball in October, where legends are often the person you’d least expect, and the impossible no longer exists.
Before the baseball season began, I thought there was a chance that the Tigers could do something that no other team in baseball history has done before, and that’s go the entire season without being shutout.
Tonight the Angels became just the first team this year to not allow the Tigers to score a run, snapping a streak of a 158 games, dating back to the middle of last year.
This shouldn’t come off as too much of a surprise, as the Tigers were expected to have of the most potent lineups in all of baseball. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case all year. The Tigers currently rank 7th in the American League in runs scored and are tied for 9th place in all of baseball. As of late, the Tigers have been a lot more consistent at the plate, which is important if they’re going to make another deep run in the playoffs.
So as this streak comes to an end, I can’t help but wonder how long the next one will last. I’ll go ahead and set the line at 150.
The first half of the baseball season has been anything but predictable. So here’s a few things that have surprised me this year, and my thoughts on whether or not they’ll continue.
After 77 games, the Tigers find themselves three games under .500, and five games back of the White Sox. Almost every single person who works for the media expected the Tigers to run away with their division. Well, that’s still not the case. Will the Tigers be able to turn it around in time to make the playoffs? Yes, I believe they’ll win the division, but it’ll be a lot closer than everyone expected.
R.A. Dickey is leading Major League Baseball with 12 wins, and even though he’s the feel good story, nobody expecting the New York Mets knuckleballer to be this dominant in 2012. Dickey recorded his 12th win of the year yesterday, and aside from one bad start against the Yankees, he’s been nearly unhittable. I think he’s pitched enough this year to prove it’s not a fluke. He should be in talks for the NL Cy Young Award, and he absolutely deserves it.
The Baltimore Orioles are in second place in the AL East, the toughest division in all of baseball. Equally impressive is the fact that no team in the AL East is currently below .500, making the Orioles looking more like contenders than pretenders. The thing that scares me most, is the fact that the Orioles have allowed 16 more runs than they have scored, whereas the third place Boston Red Sox have scored 56 more runs than they have allowed. Unfortunately, I think the Orioles will be lucky to find themselves playing for anything besides the final Wild Card spot this year.
Mike Trout was expected to be a star player for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but I don’t think anyone expected him to come out as strong as he has. Trout is hitting an astonishing .342 while stealing 22 bases. If he continues to put up numbers like that, he’ll not only find himself with the AL Rookie of the Year Award, but possibly the Most Valuable Player, too. At this point, it’s hard to root against the guy, although I imagine his batting average will drop at least 20-30 points before is all said and done. Oh yeah, he can play defense, too.
After the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series, most baseball fans would have told you that the Rangers were the runaway favorites to win the AL West again in 2012. In the famous words of ESPN analyst Lee Corso, ‘Not so fast, my friend!’
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim gambled during the offseason, making several key free-agent signings. The biggest of which was when they signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year $254 million dollar contract. Despite committing over a quarter of a billion dollars to Pujols, the Angels still went and signed C.J. Wilson to a five-year deal.
One of the biggest additions that the Angels have for the 2012 season didn’t come from free agency, but rather the return of Kendrys Morales, who missed over 100 games of the 2010 season and all of 2011 season after suffering a broken ankle while celebrating a walk-off grand slam back on May 29, 2010. The road to recovery was long, and required two surgeries, but now he’s back and finally healthy.
I can’t write a preview article about the Angels without addressing the fact that they have one of baseball’s most highly anticipated prospects, Mike Trout. Trout made his Major League debut last year at the age of 19, and the fact that he’s batting .420 after 12 games in AAA this year, it makes you think that he’ll be coming back sooner rather than later. It’s crazy to think how much potential this guy has, especially since he won’t even be turning 21 until August.
It’s hard to imagine that the Angels won’t make the playoffs in 2012, but I’m not sold that they’ll necessarily be able to win their division. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say the Angels will be playing someone from the AL East in the first ever Wild Card elimination game. Don’t get me wrong, the Angels definitely have a chance to take back the AL West, especially if Jared Weaver can have another Cy Young-worthy season like he had last year.
Fun fact: If you want to stump your friends in baseball trivia, ask them where the Angels played their home games during this first season in Major League Baseball. The answer? Wrigley Field. No, not the home of the Cubs, but Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. This was the same stadium where the classic baseball show Home Run Derby was filmed.