There is no easy way to put it, the Los Angeles Angels have been through one of their worst stretches of the season having lost seven in a row from the first week of August.
They have fallen to seven games back in the AL Wild Card race and are 11.5 back in the division. While there is still a chance to make the postseason, the outlook isn’t good.
They have a 1.8% chance to make the postseason at the time of writing this according to Fangraphs with a tough schedule still ahead of them.
Why the Hope is Gone
When they were set to face the Seattle Mariners for a four-game series after the trade deadline, the Angels seemed to have a real chance in the Wild Card race. There was still positive momentum for Shohei Ohtani’s play and the moves they made around him at the deadline.
Instead, they were swept and gave the Mariners the hope they were seeking. During the losing streak, they’ve slashed .234/.275/.377 as a team, which put them 27th in MLB for overall offense according to Fangraphs. That won’t cut it.
Pitching has been another problem during the skid, as they ranked 29th in MLB with a 6.21 ERA as both the Braves and Mariners hit them hard. It’s hard to blame a rough stretch as their ultimate demise as they’ve lost 18 series so far, including a season series sweep against the rival Dodgers.
Roster depth has been another concern as this was something Angels general manager, Perry Minasian, targeted during the off-season.
So many of the team’s big contributors have missed significant time during the season like Mike Trout, Jo Adell, Anthony Rendon, Taylor Ward, and Gio Urshela. The trade deadline acquisitions of CJ Cron and Randal Grichuk have kept the team’s head barely above water.
The Problem Looming in the Background
While every Angels fan is rightfully focused on this season and making the postseason, the team may face a bigger problem in trying to remain competitive next season. This comes with a huge question in Shohei Ohtani and if he returns to the Angels and stays for years to come.
Since the start of the season, Ohtani has been quiet about his upcoming free agency, and rightfully so as he has been historic so far for the team and is worth every penny thrown at him this off-season. Should he leave the Angels, the team can focus on spending more money at various positions of need, but with a barren farm system, winning without Ohtani will be difficult.
The reality is that the team has larger issues that Ohtani hasn’t been able to fix, despite his excellence. Ohtani staying secures both a Cy Young caliber pitcher and an All-Star hitter. His leaving will put everything the Angels have done, particularly over the last few months, into question.