There’s Always Next Year: 9/24

To close out a nine game home-stand after a 3-3 start, the Angels had the burden of having to face a Cleveland team who’d won 24 of their last 25 games.  Fortunately, after dropping the first two games to the Tribe, the Halos found themselves no worse off in the wild card race against the Twins who lost a three game set to the Yankees in the Bronx.  From there however, all luck ran out as Minnesota took four straight against Detroit and the Angels increased their losing streak to a season-tying high of six games with a third loss against the Indians followed by consecutive losses in Houston to the Astros before salvaging their lone win of the week on Sunday.  Houston, and Cleveland are the class of the league and the Angels have not success against either in the last two years.  In fact, the sweep by the Indians made it 10 straight wins over the Halos dating back to 2016.

By week’s end, the Angels (77-78) had fallen below the .500 mark for the first time since August 9, when their record stood at 57-58.  Dreams of a playoff birth or a run to something perhaps greater belong now to only the eternal optimists or those with the greatest of imaginations or fantasies.

Perhaps the Indians will finally win their first World Series since 1948, or perhaps their knack for losing when confronted with opportunity as they did last year against the Cubs (and back in the 90’s against the Braves) will continue, but they are a team with a chance to finish the regular season with the most victories in Major League baseball.  Just a month ago, the Tribe stood twenty games behind the Dodgers in the race for best record but their fates have reversed within just a period of thirty days.  Should the Indians surpass the Dodgers, they might thank the Angels for six of their wins and for right-hander, Mike Clevinger, an ex-Angel (traded for Vinnie Pestano in 2014) who at 11-5, has become an important cog in the Indian’s pitching corps.

There haven’t been many weeks in the season where highlights were hard to point out, but this week will not be remembered for many things good.  Once again, Garrett Richards battled Justin Verlander to a near draw but unfortunately came up short for the second time in as many weeks.  Justin Upton went deep four times to set a career home run mark of 35.  Albert Pujols hit home run number 23 and now stands just 16 homers short of Ken Griffey’s 630 for for sixth on the all-time list. Willie Mays is 46 ahead of Albert with 660.  Pujols is also now within 38 hits of 3,000, a milestone he should reach easily early in the 2018 season.  With four years remaining on his contract, should Pujols remain healthy and average approximately 140 hits a year, he has a chance to accumulate some 3,500 hits, a number which would place him fourth all-time behind Rose, Cobb, Aaron, and Musial.  Perhaps not all that likely perhaps Pujols even considers retirement after next season, but wherever his numbers finally land, he will certainly find himself as a resident of Cooperstown within five years after hanging up his cleats.

The Angels hosted the annual Ducks Night in the first game of the series against the Indians.  Unfortunately, neither Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Hampus Lindholm, or Francois Beauchemin could get their BP hits in against Mike Clevinger.  With the baseball season reaching its conclusion, it’ll be fun to see the Ducks on ice again in the weeks ahead.  Amazing to believe that their regular season won’t be completed until the ’18 Angels leave Tempe and return to the Big A next April!

There’s always next year?  Last year finally turned into “next year” for the long losing Cubbies.  Maybe this year will be “next year” for the Tribe. As to whether next year might truly turn into be our year for Halo fans, stay tuned to Angels-Across-America.