THE POSTSEASON The Angels were swept and failed to meet World Series expectations
The Angels had a World Series-caliber team yet failed to win even one game in the postseason and squandered home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Angels, who had the best offense in baseball, inexplicably couldn’t hit. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols & Co. batted .170 as a team in three postseason games. Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker did their part, but with little offense, the Angels lost Games 1 and 2. C.J. Wilson lasted just 2/3 of an inning in Game 3 and the Angels’ still have yet to win a playoff series since 2009.
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JOSH HAMILTON failed to deliver at the plate once again
The Angels signed the slugger in 2012, but he has yet to make good on that 5-year, $125 million deal. Hamilton was 0-for-13 in the ALDS, which was the biggest disappointment, and missed most of September with several injuries. He was booed by Angels fans in nearly every at-bat of Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS and perhaps has worn out his welcome. His body language has been questioned to mean he doesn’t care. Mike Scioscia put him in the postseason lineup because he said he was a potential “game—changer” but nothing has changed.
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INJURIES hit the pitching staff hard, especially for the playoffs
The Angels were devastated by the August injury to starter Garrett Richards. He had knee surgery and wasn’t able to add to his 13 wins. He was the Angels’ best pitcher in the first half of the season and was never more than in the postseason. Had the Angels had Richards, instead of C.J. Wilson, to add to the playoff rotation of Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker, who knows what would’ve happened. The Angels took another big hit to their staff when Tyler Skaggs had Tommy John surgery in August. Every team has injuries, but the one to Richards really took a toll.
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UNFULFILLED EXPECTATIONS can be costly with many aging players
The time to win for the Angels is now since so many key players aren’t getting any younger. Albert Pujols will be 35 when the 2015 season begins. Jered Weaver just turned 32 and Josh Hamilton is 33 and C.J. Wilson 34.The Angels needed to take advantage of the 23-year-old Trout’s MVP-like seasons and do so fast. The opportunity to win with this Angels’ team, which is largely in tact for 2015, won’t last forever.
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TOO LONG LAYOFF BEFORE PLAYOFFS and Angels didn't handle well
The Angels clinched the AL West pennant so early, and they had to wait to play wild-card opponent Kansas City four days. It’s a good problem to have. The break was good for nagging injuries, but the Angels, as a team, lost their offensive timing and rhythm at the plate and looked like a different team from the one that dominated the regular season and hit with authority.