By Pete Zarustica/Garden Grove Journal
You may now officially stick a fork in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They’re done.
Faced with a make-or-break road trip against American League West rivals (Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers), the Halos not only dropped four games in a row, but lost – probably for the rest of the season – one of their top hitters.
With about 50 games to go, the Anaheimers have fallen so far out of the ALW race and the struggle for a wild card spot, the only remaining drama for 2013 will be a) can they struggle back to .500, at least and b) is Mike Scioscia’s job still intact?
On Tuesday the Angels hit a new depth by blowing a four-run lead and losing to the Rangers 14-11 in 10 innings.
The defeat dropped the Angels nine games under .500 and 10 games out in the wild card race.
The Halos finished their series with the Rangers on Wednesday (results too late for our deadline) and come home today (Wednesday) to start a four-game series hosting the Toronto Blue Jays that ends Sunday. On Monday through Wednesday, it’ll be the Texas Rangers in town for three games.
After beating the A’s 8-3 on Thursday, the Halos hit a major pothole, losing four straight through Monday. During Friday’s 6-4 loss to the A’s, Albert Pujols was injured with a tear in his left foot while running out a single.
“This is something that, talking to Albert, has been going on for six or seven years,” said Scioscia. “It’s been going on for a long time and he’s managed it. This is a big blow to our team.”
He is not considered to be likely to return to the team this season.
The three-time National League MVP, who signed a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels as a free agent in 2011 has served as DH most of this season. He was hitting .258 with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs before the injury.
On Sunday bad things continued to happen. The Angels blew a five-run lead. Starter Tommy Hanson yielded a career-high five walks (three of the base-runners scored) and center fielder Mike Trout lost two balls in the sun, allowing a couple of men to score.
“It’s tough to pick up the balls off the bat here in general,” Trout said. “Anything to my right was in the sun. I got a late jump.”
Monday was coyote ugly, too, but in a different way. Jered Weaver again pitched well and the Angels went into the ninth inning leading 3-2 when closer Ernesto Frieri gave up consecutive home runs to propel the Rangers to a 4-3 win.
“We’ve had some breakdowns on the pitching side and on the offensive side there has been some non-performance and some guys are hurt,” said Scioscia, summing up the Angels’ plight. “We need to pick up our game with whatever pieces are out there.”
Or, perhaps, as they used to say in Brooklyn more than half a century ago, “Wait ‘til next year!”