Angels week in review: ASG break (kinda) for red-hot Halos
JUL 14, 2014 1:58p ET
The week ahead
Considering how well they're playing, the Angels probably would prefer not to take a four-day break for this week's All-Star Game (sorry Mike Trout and Erick Aybar, no rest for you). They resume the regular season Friday night with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners that begins a 10-game homestand. The good news: The Angels have the best home record in the majors (32-15).
The week behind
Can you say hot? The Angels took two of three at home from the Toronto Blue Jays, then swept a four-game series at Texas, giving them a 6-1 week. It marked their first-ever four-game sweep of the Rangers, who won nine of 10 from the Angels last season at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Record and standings
At 57-37, the Angels have the second-best record in baseball and are 20 games over .500 at the break for the first time in franchise history. They still trail the Oakland A's in the American League West, but the A's can undoubtedly feel the heat. After trailing by 4 1/2 games last Tuesday, the Angels are just 1 1/2 games out, the closest they've been since May 29.
Starter Garrett Richards had every reason to be upset when he was continually passed over for the All-Star Game, but he handled his snub with aplomb. After learning he didn't make the team, Richards (11-2, 2.55 ERA) beat the Rangers 3-0 on Friday and said afterward, "I'll probably end up carrying that the whole year, to be honest with you." His disappointment might be just the thing to keep the Angels fired up.
At this point in the season, it's tough to find something the Angels aren't doing right. So let's give a big thumb's down to the American League for not selecting Garrett Richards to pitch in the ASG. Is there a more deserving candidate who won't be there?
Player to watch
Frankly, there are any number of Angels players worth watching, but we're picking new closer Joe Smith, who notched his 15th save of the season Sunday. Smith won the job when Ernesto Frieri was traded to Pittsburgh and has been virtually unhittable. Since the start of July, he is 1-0 with eight saves, has retired 26 of 27 batters and has a streak of 10 consecutive hitless one-inning appearances.
Every game brings a new milestone for Trout. The Angels center fielder, who is headed to his third All-Star Game, has 22 home runs and 73 RBI at the break. It's only the sixth time an Angels player has taken at least 20 homers and 70 RBI into the break but the first time since Vladimir Guerrero in 2004.
"Don't get bitter, get better." -- Angels pitcher Garrett Richards to his Twitter followers after he was snubbed for the AL All-Star team