|2008 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Preview|
Written by Paul Keen (Contact & Archive) on March 20, 2008
2007 Regular Season Finish: 94-68, First in AL West
Already have tickets to Disneyland
ot tired of saying that long team name
The Skinny: Their impressive record last year (First in their division, tied for second overall with the Yankees) won them a spot in the post-season, but they couldn’t manage to get past Boston. Now, after spending all that money on Gary Matthews, Jr., the Halos spend even more money to bring in Torii Hunter bumping Matthews down to second fiddle. However, the Angels have little to complain about in the batting department. Matthews will be moved to DH (playing LF, CF or RF during interleague) to keep his batting numbers in the game. This move, coupled with Torii Hunter, will keep the Angels bats competitive.
Strengths: The Angels rotation seems to be their strongest point. Right now, the two men battling it out for the number 5 spot (Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana) have better numbers than the number 1 spots of other major league teams. Expect them to have many major league line ups working for their hits against L.A.
Weaknesses: The bullpen seems to be the only place where the Angels could be a little bit stronger. Last year, their bullpen would struggle in pressure situations, and there haven’t been any major changes concerning relief pitching. Francisco Rodriguez also lost arbitration to the Angels, and will receive $10 mil as opposed to his requested $12.5 mil. K-Rod says he bares the Angels no ill will and says “It’s just part of the process.” However, it has to weigh on your mind to have it proven that you are not the pitcher you thought you were. K-Rod will more than likely put up good numbers for the Angels, but he may not be able to put up the numbers they need to get them out of hot water.
Keys to Success: The Angels have a stronger rotation than last year so maybe they won’t need as much help in the relief pitching department. However, if Anaheim’s line up fails to get runs, they will be in serious trouble concerning their standings in the AL West. If history has proven one thing in baseball, it’s that great pitching will only take you so far.
Prediction: the Halos can easily take first place in their division, and quite possibly, go farther. However, they might not have what it takes to compete past the ALCS.