With about a quarter left in the MLB season, some things are going as expected and then there are some things that make you think, what is going on with that team? Well, when I say what is going on with that team, a few come in mind, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Washington Nationals. The Angels and Nationals are still in the thick of the playoff race with L.A. having the final Wild Card spot and the Nationals, more so, seeing their playoff hopes hinging on winning the NL East, four games behind the New York Mets. And, speaking of the Mets and the city of New York: if the Mets make the playoffs, along with the Yankees, who are in good shape with a slight lead over the Blue Jays in the AL East, but also, currently sporting a 4 ½ game lead on the Angels in the final wild card spot in the AL, it would be the first time since 2006 that both teams made the postseason. Both teams 97-65 that year as well.
But back to my comments on the Nationals and Angels… Washington really shouldn’t have any excuses at this point. They were supposed to have the best starting pitching in the game, which is still good, but not good enough in the National League. The Nats’ team ERA of 3.75 ranks 7th in the NL, with every team in front of them having a better record than the Nats’. So, statistically Washington is right where they should be in the standings, if you live by the adage, great starting pitching not only wins you games in the regular season, but postseason games too. This season it would be true in the NL.
In the AL, it is more of an outlier. The Angels, who I mentioned previously, have the 5th best ERA in the AL, at 3.68. The two team directly in front of L.A. are the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics. Both great pitching teams, but with a lack of run support, to say the least. So pitching is important, but when you can’t put runs on the board to support a quality pitching start, it makes it tough to match up with the Blue Jays’, Yankees’ or even the Rangers’ of the baseball world. The Angels could be lumped into the same category as the Rays and A’s. In fact, the Angels have 4 less runs than Oakland, but when it comes to Tampa Bay, the Rays are far down the ladder, 14th in AL in runs scored. Ouch!
For the Nationals to have a chance, it’s really all about the pitching, but as for the Angels are concerned, run support is drastically needed, especially if they have to go up against the likes of the Yankees or Blue Jays. I don’t lump the Royals in that same category, even though they are the best in team in the AL, because they more so have great pitching and not as many runs scored, much like the best team in baseball, in the St. Louis Cardinals, with an out of line 2.61 ERA, so you don’t need as much run support, when you have that type of ERA as a team, but it definitely couldn’t hurt.
Featured Image by: M F Flaherty