Los Angeles Angels' Team Grades After Opening Week

April 16, 2012

Opening Day has come and gone and the second weekend of this season is complete. So with the past few days offering a sneak peek into the 2012 season, it is now time to pass out grades for Vegas' favorite to win the World Series this season – the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Angels tried to bolster their lineup and starting pitching by spending over 300 million dollars this offseason on free agents, but so far, the returns have not come. The Angels are currently occupying the AL West cellar at 3-6, a full 4.5 games back of the division-leading Texas Rangers.

Here is the DSH's Angels Report Card:

Hitting: B-

The addition of Albert Pujols and the overdue return of Kendrys Morales have not had the intended effect that most experts envisioned. The team is batting .258 (6th in the AL), has hit 6 homers (12th), and has driven in 36 runs (6th).

Pujols, who signed a 10-year, 240 million dollar contract, is batting .243 with 4 RBI’s and no home runs. Morales is batting an anemic .200, with no home runs and no RBI’s. As such, the Angels’ potential 3 and 4 hitters have not produced as expected.

But the Angels are not too worried, at least for now. Pujols started off slow last season and ended up batting .299, with 37 home runs and 99 RBI’s.

Meanwhile, Morales has come off two major surgeries to the broken leg he sustained almost 2 years ago, and will probably take time to acclimate back to the game. He has only faced live pitching for a handful of games in the spring and a mere 9 games in this young season.

On the bright side, the 7 and 8 hitters, Mark Trumbo and Chris Iannetta, respectively, are producing at the bottom of the lineup. Trumbo is batting .375 and Iannetta .348, as both have combined to hit 4 of the Angels’ 6 blasts along with 10 RBI’s.

Starting Pitching: D+

The Pujols signing in the offseason received all the headlines, but the signing of C.J. Wilson was probably the move that made everyone believe the Angels were World Series contenders.

Wilson joined a pitching staff that led the American League in Earned Run Average last year, and thus far, the lefty has not disappointed. After two starts, Wilson has two wins under his belt and an ERA of 1.38.

Jered Weaver, the Angels’ ace, boasts a modest 3.21 ERA, and 1 win with 17 K’s. However, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, the team’s number 2 and number 4 starters in the rotation, have ERA’s of 6.97 and 7.71 respectively. As a whole, the starting staff has an ERA of 4.59, allowing 9 home runs combined and surrendering an astonishing 25 runs in 49 innings pitched.

Bullpen: F

What was the biggest worry in the offseason – the bullpen – continues to be the biggest worry after 9 games.

On the bright side, the two acquisitions intended to bolster the 'pen have done well. In 6-plus innings, Jason Isringhausen and Latroy Hawkins have given up 0 runs, struck out 6, and allowed 1 walk combined. In addition, Scott Downs continued from his successful 2011, allowing no runs, no walks, and two hits before he went down with an injury in Minnesota.

Overall, the bullpen boasts a 4.05 ERA, ranking it 8th in the AL. But the most frightening stat is the number of inherited runners that have scored against the Angels’ relievers.

Of the thirteen runners inherited by the Halos' relievers, seven have scored. That means in the first 9 games of the season, the Angels’ relief pitchers have allowed more than half the runners they have inherited to cross the plate. Such numbers are unlikely to give Manager Mike Scioscia a lot of confidence when he makes that walk to the mound.

Overall: C-

For most teams, a 3 and 6 record to start the season is not something to lose sleep over.

What is concerning however, is that the Angels posted that record against the Royals, Twins, and Yankees, who have a combined record of 10 and 17. Even more troubling, when taking away the games played against the Angels, those three teams – the Royals, Twins, and Yankees – are merely 4 and 14 against the rest of the league.

The Angels have the next 8 games at home against Oakland and Baltimore – teams they should easily win 5 of 8 against. Look for the Angels to bounce back this week and to post perhaps a near .500 record after their 8-game homestand.

By Steve Oh
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald

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