Glaring holes among playoff contenders
June, 27, 2014
By Buster Olney | ESPN Insider
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesIf only the red-hot Mike Trout could pitch in relief: The Angels have an AL-high 12 blown saves.It's easy to imagine the Angels succeeding in October -- for seven innings, at least. Mike Trout is already widely regarded as the best player on the planet, and he is in the midst of what is arguably the best month of his career, sporting a 1.228 OPS in June; he has 17 extra-base hits in 73 at-bats and has reached base 41 times. Josh Hamilton is hitting .321, shortstop Erick Aybar is an All-Star candidate, and Albert Pujols is focused and getting results and is on pace for 34 homers and 97 RBIs.
Meanwhile, Garrett Richards, their No. 3 starter, has been among the most dominating starters in the majors this season, and their rotation ranks second in the American League in ERA.
If you watched the Angels' win over Minnesota on Thursday, there was a sequence in Jered Weaver's last inning that was just classic. The Angels led 4-1 in the seventh inning, but the Twins put a couple of guys on base and Brian Dozier got ahead in the count, three balls and no strikes. Weaver's pitch count was at 103, and it was looking like Dozier would be the last hitter he faced.
Weaver threw a 3-0 changeup -- just in case Dozier had the green light -- for a called strike. He followed that with a curveball, which Dozier took for a second strike. Having seen a changeup and a curveball while he was ahead in the count, Dozier probably didn't have a strong feel for what was coming next, and when Weaver fired a fastball, Dozier popped it up for the third out.
But the rest of the game was classic 2014 Angels as well: