The Los Angeles Angels have finished one month of the 2021 season, and there have certainly been good and bad aspects of their performance in the first 24 games. Here, we’ll break down all of the important facts and figures of what the Halos are doing successfully and what they need to improve upon if they want to make a playoff run.
Through 24 games, the Angels are 12-12 and have hovered around .500 for a majority of the season. At their best, they were 9-6, but a four-game losing streak reset their record. Now, they sit at fourth in the American League West, but are just 2.5 games back of the first place Oakland Athletics.
The Angels stars are playing incredible baseball. Mike Trout is slashing an absurd .425/.523/.781 with an OPS+ of 265. He leads the MLB in OPS, OPS+, batting average, and BAbip while being top 10 in almost every other major category, including third in WAR at 1.8.
Shohei Ohtani has also been phenomenal at the plate and on the mound. He has over 1.0 WAR combined as a pitcher and hitter, and is near a 1.000 OPS, an incredible feat for a player who also has 23 strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched.
Jared Walsh has fallen off a bit since the first week of the season, but he has also reached 1.1 WAR while batting .329. Anthony Rendon and David Fletcher are perhaps the only stars not performing to their full capacity, but both have come up big in various moments.
The Angels have also had a few pitchers do great work in April, including Tony Watson, Ben Rowen, Shohei Ohtani, Dylan Bundy and Chris Rodriguez.
Watson and Rowen have pitched just 8.1 innings this season, but have ERA’s of 1.08 and a below 1.0 WHIP. Meanwhile, in a bigger role, Rodriguez has proven himself as a major league pitcher — and potentially a starter — with a 2.45 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 14.2 innings pitches.
Ohtani and Bundy are the only starters who have played with any consistency, and even they have struggled at times. Ohtani has been remarkable outside of a bad first inning in one game against the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, Bundy has performed his best to start games, but has struggled to finish things out without giving up late runs.
The Angels pitching — once again — has been a detriment to the team rather than a benefit. Outside of solid individual performances by the players listed above, the Angels pitchers have been inconsistent with their command and their velocity.
For the starters, Andrew Heaney, Alex Cobb, Jose Quintana, and Griffin Canning have all had good moments. However, the bad has far outweighed the good with the exception of maybe Heaney.
In three of Heaney’s five starts, he has allowed a total of three earned runs. However, in the other two, he’s allowed 11 to score, showing that pitching consistently from game to game remains a problem for the long-time Angels starter.
Canning, Quintana, and Cobb have really struggled, significantly more so than Heaney — and certainly, Bundy and Ohtani. Combined, the three Angels pitchers have allowed 42 earned runs in 44.1 innings pitched. This is an 8.53 ERA and has accounted for over 33% of the Angels total runs allowed this season.
As a team, the Angels have an ERA of 5.19, the worst in the majors. They also have the fifth worst WHIP and opponent batting average. It’s not all bad, as they are seventh in strikeouts and towards the middle of the league in home runs allowed. However, they must figure out the pitching to give their elite offense support as they move through the year.
The Angels absolutely have the talent and the ability to turn things around and sit atop the AL West. Their offense is the best they’ve had in the Trout era. However, like many prior Angels season, it’s going to come down to pitching.
If the Angels starters can figure out a way to limit early damage and the bullpen can do a better job of not allowing inherited runs, they have a real shot to make a run at the postseason.
In May, the Angels play a gauntlet of a schedule, facing teams like the L.A. Dodgers, and the Tampa Bay Rays among others. This will be a great test for a team that wants to break a six-year playoff drought.