The Angels can’t get out of their own way, losing their 2nd straight game to the Rangers and overall their 4th loss over the last 5 days. They have been outscored 42-11 over their Texas roadtrip with just one win, a 2-1 win against the Astros on Sunday. Lucas Giolito gave up 4 runs over 6 innings pitched, Aaron Loup and Dominick Leone gave up a combined 3 runs out of the bullpen, and the Angels lineup failed to produce yet again on Tuesday night. The Halos are now a season worst 3 games under .500 with a 59-62 record and they would have to go on 2002 Oakland Athletics type of win streak to possibly make the playoffs. If they don’t turn things around fast, not only will they miss the playoffs, but the Angels will also record their 8th consecutive losing season, the longest active streak in the MLB.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Giolito struggles yet again
Lucas Giolito simply hasn’t been good since joining the Angels. In just four starts since he was acquired from the White Sox, Giolito has given up 19 runs over 21 innings pitched with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks. On Tuesday night it was no different as Giolito gave up 4 runs in 6 innings, including a 2-run home run to Corey Seager in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Giolito has failed to minimize the long-ball as he’s already given up 26 home runs this season, just one off of his career high of 27.
The Angels traded for Giolito to be their #2 starter behind Shohei Ohtani, but instead he looks to be more of a #4 or #5 starter with limited upside. Prior to joining the Angels Giolito’s ERA was 3.79, but his FIP was just 4.46 indicating that he was struggling more than his ERA showed even on the White Sox. Furthermore, the Angels gave up a lot for Giolito and the initial results are not promising. Despite the Halos being effectively eliminated (though not mathematically eliminated yet), Giolito still has some time to turn this season around and raise his value for his impending free agency.
Lineup continues cold streak
The Angels have been outscored 42-11 over their last 5 games which is utterly embarassing for a ball-club that ranked in the top 10 in a lot of team offensive categories just last week. In fact, just one week ago the Halos were top 5 in perhaps the most important team offensive statistic, OPS. Sure, a lot of them being in the top 10 of most offensive categories is due to Shohei Ohtani’s stellar 2nd MVP season, but there have been a lot of contributions from other players all year round until this week. Mickey Moniak had a 17-game hitting streak and Brandon Drury had a top 35 OPS just a few weeks ago, and Mike Moustakas has been of the best trade deadline acquisitions in the MLB.
However, over the last 5 games no one is hitting well. Though they had 8 hits on Tuesday night (they were 1-5 with runners in scoring position), the Angels only had 10 total hits in the three previous games. Moniak is in the midst of an atrocious cold streak as he’s had just 9 hits over his last 65 at bats and Drury has gone just 3 for his last 22 at the plate in the midst of a cold streak as well. Though Moustakas has continued to hit, the loss of Taylor Ward a few weeks ago has shown. Ward was just starting to heat up and be as productive as his 2022 MLB season before he suffered a facial fracture against the Blue Jays on July 29th. Nonetheless, the Angels are severely struggling at the plate right now and they need both Moniak and Drury to start hitting to do so.
Grichuk hits two-run home run in 9th
Randal Grichuk had been struggling immensely recently going registering just 1 hit over his last 19 at bats entering Tuesday’s game. However, Grichuk was one of the few bright spots on Tuesday going 2 for 5 with a 2-run home run in the top of the 9th inning. Grichuk came into that at bat with the Angels down 7-1 and could have just given up at the plate, but instead he fought and hit a home run to put the Halos within 5.
Throughout this brutal 5 game stretch, it’s been difficult to find an Angels hitter not visibly defeated, but Grichuk showed tenacity and focus even when times were tough. That has to mean something to a team that desperately needs more fight right now and perhaps other Angels hitters will have better approaches at the plate on Wednesday.