Despite serious pitching problems, the Angels have thrust themselves into the thick of the AL wild-card race for the 2020 MLB season.
The Los Angeles Angels can’t pitch and they can’t win at home. That’s two pretty significant shortcomings for a team that suddenly finds itself in wild-card contention.
Yet approaching the halfway point of the 2020 MLB season AL simulation, that’s precisely where the Angels are. They won three parts of a four-game series – at home yet – against the Texas Rangers to climb within three and one-half games of the second wild-card spot.
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Their series win in front of the home fans was all the more noteworthy because the Angels have treated Anaheim Stadium like a terra incognita thus far in the 2020 simulation. They entered the series only 11-22 at home compared with their 24-16 mark elsewhere.
The Angels, 38-39, are three games behind AL West runner-up Oakland. The Toronto Blue Jays hold the second wild-card spot one-half game further advanced at 42-36.
Having taken Thursday’s series opener 4-3, Los Angeles confronted a Friday stumbling block in the form of Rangers pitcher Mike Minor. Until departing two outs into the sixth inning, Minor, 8-4, held LA to two runs and five hits. He led 3-2 thanks to home runs by Elvis Andrus and Robinson Chirinos, and the efforts of relievers Nick Goody and Jose LeClerc made sure that’s the way the game ended.
But on Saturday the home team hit Texas starter Corey Kluber with a three-run first inning capped by Anthony Rendon’s two-RBI single. Albert Pujols doubled another run home, and Julio Teheran, 3-9, made it work for a 5-3 victory.
Sunday’s dramatics capped a productive weekend. Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Angels rallied off LeClerc. Luis Rengifo’s third double drove in Brian Goodwin and Justin Upton, who had both singled, with the tying and winning runs.
In other action involving American League teams, the New York Yankees two took of three games from the Minnesota Twins at Target Field but Failed to grain ground on Toronto when the Blue Jays won two of three inter-league games in Pittsburgh. The Cleveland Indians picked up two wins against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.
In the AL West, the Oakland Athletics took two of three from the division-leading Houston Astros, but that only narrowed Houston’s advantage to 10 and one-half games.
The Tampa Bay Rays swept Baltimore at Camden Yards, the Seattle Mariners took two of three from the Kansas City Royals, the Boston Red Sox won two of three against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, and the lowly Detroit Tigers came away with wins in two games of a three-game series against the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.