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These Los Angeles Angels Might Be Different

It feels different. I think most baseball fans have been desperately waiting for the moment in which the Los Angeles Angels finally break out of what has been an eight-year-long slump. It's better for baseball if Ohtani and Trout are in the postseason, and while we haven't seen that in recent memory (Ohtani has never played in the postseason), Trout has not played in the postseason since 2014. The idea of it is incredibly enticing, and while the season is still in its early stages, something about this Angels team feels different. When you break it down and look at what the Angels have gone through over the last eight years, offensive production has never been a problem. I know Mike Trout has suffered a fair amount of injuries over the previous few seasons, but for the most part, this is a team that pumped out some pretty great hitters. Even if they aren't all world-beaters, they've done a good job finding hitters who can contribute. The same can't be said about the pitching. Yet, after years of futility, the Los Angeles Angels seem to have a pitching staff holding itself together. I didn't believe in Michael Lorenzen being a starter again. I thought it was crazy, but it's working. Noah Syndergaard, who's been plagued with injuries since 2019, looks fantastic. Last night, the Angels took what is still an excellent Tampa Bay Rays team behind the woodshed. 

I've never really believed that a team could build around one player. But the Angels, since Mike Trout first burst onto the scene back in 2012, have tried to build around him, and hey, I can't blame them. We're talking about probably the single most talented, most valuable baseball player of my lifetime. And despite their best efforts, it's not like the Angels haven't spent money, but the last time Los Angeles won a playoff game, Joe Girardi was still managing the Yankees. And look, things might fall apart, but the Angels and the Mets have given off similar vibes this year. Are the rosters more talented? Absolutely, but even beyond that, there's just some sort of good juju coming off these organizations that's hard to explain. It doesn't feel like an uphill battle anymore. I'm not going to say that they're going to win the division because the Houston Astros still don't seem like a team that's not going anywhere, but for 2022, the Los Angeles Angels are here to stay.