The Los Angeles Angels are moving through another tough start to a season. They have fallen below the .500 mark, which has pushed them out of early playoff contention. Los Angeles now has to overcome the loss of star outfielder Mike Trout for an extended stretch.
Angels struggle to find consistency
The Angels shot out the gate to a promising start this season behind a 9-6 record.
Since then, Los Angeles has struggled to find consistency, falling below the .500 mark while trailing the Oakland Athletics by seven games for the American League West division lead.
The Angels have lost four of their last five series, including dropping 10 of their previous 15 games.
The path toward snapping the seven-year playoff drought just took another disappointing turn after Mike Trout’s latest injury.
Mike Trout’s injury delivers crushing blow to Angels’ playoff hopes
The Angels‘ struggles over the last month have pushed them into a tough early-season position.
The pathway to the postseason became much more difficult after Trout suffered a calf strain earlier this week. Los Angeles announced Tuesday that the 29-year-old could miss the next six to eight weeks.
The injury occurred in Monday’s 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians as he ran the bases after Jared Walsh hit a popup to shortstop.
“When I put my head down, I thought I got hit by the ball,” Trout said, via MLB.com. “I thought I got hit by like a line drive. … And then I got to the bag and then I said, ‘Man, something’s not right.’ And then I felt a pop and then I went down to the tunnel, made sure it wasn’t my Achilles.
“I guess if there’s any positive coming out of it, it’s that it wasn’t my Achilles because that’s what scared me when it first happened. It was just a freak thing.”
Trout has cooled off significantly from his blazing start, batting .333 with eight home runs, 18 RBI, and eight doubles in 36 games. Despite that, he leads the league with a 1.090 OPS and ranks fourth with a .626 slugging percentage.
The loss is a massive blow as he’s been the Angels’ unquestioned offensive anchor. The initial timeline gives Trout the possibility of being available to begin the second half of the season. However, the ball club will likely take the precautionary route given the sensitive nature of the injury.
Until then, Los Angeles has a massive uphill battle ahead without its star.
Shohei Ohtani’s time to shine
Trout‘s injury immediately shifts the attention over to the rest of the Angels’ roster.
Los Angeles possesses plenty of offensive firepower, especially with Shohei Ohtani putting together a career-best start. Ohtani leads the league with 14 home runs and is tied for second with 33 RBI while batting .271.
Meanwhile, Jared Walsh continues to be a pleasant surprise as he’s batting .333 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. The Angels will also lean on Anthony Rendon despite his struggles with injuries.
Rendon is two games removed from a three-hit performance in Monday’s win over the Indians. However, the Angels’ problem hasn’t been hitting, but instead their lack of stability pitching.
The pitching staff ranks last with a 5.28 ERA while giving up the fifth-most hits (361) and holding the fourth-highest opponent batting average (.256) and second-worst WHIP (1.46).
The Angels will only continue to scrap for a wild-card berth until the team fixes its pitching issues.