(BaseballStL) -- Not totally down for the count, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are close to tapping out of the American League West race -- and it’s only June 4.
Last year on this date, the Angels sat 4.5 games back of the Texas Rangers. But not even the addition of Albert Pujols could launch the team into the playoffs, who finished five games back in the division and four back of the wild card spots.
Enter 2013 and the pickup of another slugger, Josh Hamilton, and the early results are even more disappointing so far.
Money can’t buy you everything, L.A.
The Angels began Tuesday 11 games back of the Rangers and 7.5 back of the wild card. While it’s still relatively early in the season and a comeback could still happen, the Angels shouldn’t bank on their recent results to increase their chances of October baseball.
The recent result for L.A. is a four-game losing streak. Eh, that’s not as bad as you thought, right? What if the losing streak came because of a sweep by the Houston Astros?
That’s right. The worst team in the AL and the second worst to only the Miami Marlins swept the early AL West favorites.
The Angels were starting to look alive winning seven of its last 10 games prior to the weekend series with the Astros, which ended Monday. It is only a matter of time before manager Mike Scioscia’s seat starts scorching under the fire of team owner Arte Moreno.
Okay, so there was a four-game sweep of the Angels...the pitching must have been horrendous, right? No. That on-paper potent offense of the Angels, which features Pujols, Hamilton, and last year’s Rookie of the Year winner Mike Trout, managed to score only eight runs off the worst pitching staff in the big leagues.
It was a golden opportunity for the Angels to begin to climb within the same zip code of the Rangers and Oakland Athletics, but that juicy, free agent-bought lineup registered eight runs in four games at home against a team with a 5.05 ERA.
There are no longer any bitter feelings towards Pujols, but an inkling inside every Cardinals fan opens a wry smile when we see this. And it should.
St. Louis’ wallet has never been able to compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and, more recently, the Angels. But there is something so gratifying when watching a team built on ideology rather than money succeeds at the major league level, and that is what’s happening in St. Louis.
The memories of Pujols in a Cardinals uniform are great, but thankfully they are over because this St. Louis squad might be the most fun team to watch in a very long time.
The Angels play the Chicago Cubs for a two-game series at home starting on Tuesday.