At the end of May, the Los Angeles Angels season looked grim. They were six games below .500 after a brutal month filled with difficult opponents and injuries to many of their best players, including Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Because of this, the outlook for June was less than positive, despite having a significantly easier schedule.
Even with Trout out for the entire month, the Angels have managed to right the ship. They are still under .500, finishing the month with a total record of 39-41, but have much more reason to be positive. In 26 games during the month of June, the Halos went 15-11, including a six-game winning streak. The best — and worst — of a bounce-back month will be covered below.
The Angels took advantage of a lighter schedule by putting together their best offensive month of the season. They averaged 5.9 runs per game on team batting lines of .270/.339/.826. All of these numbers are season-highs by month this season.
On the pitching side, the bullpen saw significant improvements from May to June. Their ERA as a unit decreased by over a full run and their WHIP dropped significantly as well. This was largely thanks to elite months from Raisel Iglesias, Jose Suarez, and others.
Speaking of Suarez, he and Patrick Sandoval may have earned themselves full-time roles in the starting rotation with their performances in June. Both excelled in long relief appearances enough to warrant consideration in the rotation, with Sandoval making the permanent switch earlier in June.
Back to the bats, the Angels saw some incredible individual months at the plate. This starts with Shohei Ohtani, who was otherworldly in June. He slashed .309/.423/.889 for an OPS of 1.312.
After hitting eight and seven home runs respectively in the first two months, he hit 13 in June, taking the MLB home run lead late in the month. Jared Walsh also had himself quite a month, including a game-tying grand slam in an Angels win on the last day of June.
June was also a bounce-back month for two Angels who desperately needed it. David Fletcher and Anthony Rendon have started to round into form. Fletcher batted .344 with an OPS of .797 over the 30 days, while Rendon had 19 RBI’s and a .786 OPS.
Starting pitching, which had been on a roll at the end of May, dropped off in June. As a unit, the starters saw dropoffs in ERA, strikeouts, and hit by pitches, among other things. They also had some inconsistency at the position with Jose Quintana making the move to the bullpen, being replaced by Sandoval.
They also — at the tail end of the month — hinted that they may go the same route with Dylan Bundy and Suarez. Bundy continued his struggled that started in May, and did next to nothing to show improvement. Meanwhile, Griffin Canning — who was lights out at the end of May — also saw a dip in production.
Outside of pitching, Trout was moved from the 10-day IL to the 60-day, meaning his return is being pushed until at least July 17. There was hope he’d be ready for the All-Star Game, but that is no longer the case.
The Angels also lost five consecutive games during this month. Streakiness is going to happen during a 162-game season, but losing five straight after winning six in a row cannot happen if the Angels want to make a late playoff push.
Things are slightly more positive for the Angels now than they were at the beginning of the month. With the All-Star Break happening in July, the Angels will get a much-needed break given the injuries that have plagued the roster. As it stands, they are 8.5 games back of the division lead and 7.5 games back of the second wild card spot.
July brings a good mix of opponents, featuring some top-of-the-line teams and some that the Angels can try to take advantage of. Their best opponents include three games against the Boston Red Sox and five against the Oakland Athletics, who have had their way with the Halos this season.
They also play six in a row against the Seattle Mariners, who sit 2.5 games above the Halos for third place in the AL West. Finally, they play three against the Baltimore Orioles to open up the month, and have an easier seven game stretch against the Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies.