by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
ARLINGTON, TX — The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are in the midst of another disappointing season. As they hover around the .500 mark, they currently are 18.5 games out of first in the AL West and 11.5 games out of the Wild Card.
The sad part is their two-time AL MVP Mike Trout is doing all he can to keep his team competitive with yet another MVP season. Trout leads the American League with 41 home runs, .661 slugging percentage, and a robust 1.104 OPS.
Yet it’s not good enough to keep Trout from spending October on his couch.
However, the problem clearly lies with the pitching staff, boasting a 5.08 team ERA this season. The injuries and inconsistencies of their staff continue to be this team’s Achilles heal as it has the last five years.
This is the one area GM Billy Eppler has yet to figure out the right mix.
While World Series champ Dallas Keuchel was unemployed for months, Eppler instead signed struggling vets like Matt Harvey and Cody Allen to potentially catch lightning in a bottle. Instead both quickly fizzled out before being DFA’ed earlier in the season and Keuchel went to Atlanta.
The youngsters like Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Felix Pena, and closer Hansel Robles have shown potential, but have either suffered severe injuries or failed to show consistency as they navigate their way through the majors.
Eppler can only hope those kids’ health and stuff improves, while Shohei Ohtani gets healthy enough to be re-inserted into the rotation, and maybe land a star free agent pitcher like SoCal native Gerrit Cole this offseason.
Trout rewarded the Angels’ belief and trust in him by essentially signing a lifetime contract; its time Eppler returns the favor and surround him with a more talented pitching staff.