Albert Pujols has been playing well in the past week. He has hit homeruns in back-to-back games and has cut down on the strikeouts. He is starting to show the signs of turning around his slow start in the first year and a half of playing with the Angels.
The last 5 games, Pujols has hit closer to his career average (.350 batting average / .381 on base percentage /.500 slugging percentage). The Angels have consequently been better with a 11-3 record in the past 14.
He had been struggling with a lingering foot/leg ailment, which is finally starting to subside. Albert will do well to rest with the four-day All-Star break coming soon. I look for him to have a big 2nd half of the season.
The Angels haven’t made it easy for themselves in the 1st half. Before this current stretch, the Angels struggled against some of the weaker teams in the AL including Houston, Seattle and Chicago. Oakland and Texas are up 9 and 8.5 games respectively because they have beaten up the Angels so far this year.
If the Angels can win at least 2 out of 3 at Seattle before the break, they will only be one game under .500 to start the second half. I couldn’t have imagined this two weeks ago. While Los Angeles is still looking at an uphill climb to get back into the playoff race, it is no longer an unrealistic expectation.
The first part of the 2nd half of the season is crucial, however. The Angels play 2 series each against the A’s and Rangers to start with a two other series squeezed between them. They will have to go 7-6 in these 13 games against the rivals in order to continue to have a good shot of making a comeback.
The Angels are currently 7 games back of the 2nd wild card spot. However, it is going to be nearly impossible for the Angels to claim a wild card spot without catching and passing either Oakland or Texas. The one advantage that the Angels has is that the AL East is going to have to beat each other up and there are no real contenders in the Central besides the Tigers.
Albert is going to have to go back to his St Louis Cardinals form in order for the Angels to have a chance. He has done this once before with the Cardinals back in 2011. They were as many as 10 games back at times in the second half of that season only to squeeze into the playoffs, and that’s when they went on an epic run to the World Series Title.
A little far fetched? Not really, just remember that we did this once before with the rally monkey. If Josh Hamilton can ever start hitting close to normal, the Angels can catch up in a hurry. They just have to not let this momentum fall flat after the All-Star break.
Tomorrow’s Game Prediction
I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is. The Angels aren’t going to play their next game until tomorrow. The line is not up for tomorrow’s game against the Mariners. I would be guessing that Seattle is going to be a half run favorite with the pitching match-up. I got a C-note that the Angels are going to win outright.
I know that Jerome Williams is the starting pitcher and he’s only made it through 4 and 2/3 innings in the last two starts. But, he is due have a good start and Seattle doesn’t have the offense to pound him like Boston and St Louis did.
This is going to be somewhat of a must win if they want to get to close to .500 by the break. If you would like more advise or find the betting lines for current games, click here for more online gambling.
Here’s to Albert Pujols and the Angels completing the improbable comeback this year after falling short last season. Keep those bats hot and give the pitching a chance to win some games!