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Los Angeles Angels: Spinning their wheels

The Los Angeles Angels have some billboard-worthy names on the 2015 roster. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver just to name a few. However, the Angels have struggled to get off the ground in the middling American League West. Los Angeles was expected to make a playoff run, fighting with the Seattle Mariners and perhaps the Oakland Athletics for Western supremacy.

Oddly enough, the Angels are well ahead of the Mariners and A’s, but sitting behind the surprising Texas Rangers and surging, first-place Houston Astros. Los Angeles has been consistently mediocre, avoiding long losing streaks but failing to get hot for any stretch of time. Going into June 17, Los Angeles is 33-32 and 4.5 games behind Houston.

The good news? The Angels are right in the thick of the race. Judging from the rotations in Houston and Texas, neither one of those teams will be running away with anything. However, the Mariners are a sleeping giant and only four games behind Los Angeles, while Oakland is starting to play a bit better and is trailing the Angels by six games.

Offensively, the stars are getting the job done. Trout is hitting a team-best .298 with 18 home runs and 39 RBI, along with 13 doubles and a .383 on-base percentage. After striking out at an obscenely high rate in 2014, Trout is showing that might be a trend. In 242 at-bats, Trout has 60 strikeouts, the most on Los Angeles.

Pujols has continued to be one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball. Despite being 35 years old, Pujols is hitting .273 with 19 blasts and 36 RBI, giving Trout the kind of protection most big-time hitters only dream of (Giancarlo Stanton says hello). While Pujols hits into double plays with his speed withering to nothing, he remains one of the most potent players in the league,

However, not everyone in red and white is tearing the cover off the ball. Veteran shortstop Eric Aybar is hitting a paltry .251 with just 19 RBI while third baseman David Freese is at .241 with a .296 on-base percentage. The overall speed is also lacking on the base paths, with the Angels yet to have anyone steal nine bags.

On the mound, Garrett Richards has returned from a nasty patellar tendon injury in 2014 to lead the team with seven wins, while Hector Santiago is proving to be a quality southpaw. Additionally, C.J. Wilson had bounced back with a 3.60 ERA, helping to pick up Weaver’s slack. The long-time ace has a 4.65 ERA, perhaps winding down a brilliant career.

In the West, the Angels might still be the favorite. With Seattle and Oakland struggling mightily and Houston and Texas looking at massive regression, Los Angeles has a chance to shoot up the standings with consistent play.

Don’t be surprised if we the Angels come October.

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