Culver City Observer -

Angels Haven't Clicked But They're Not Far Behind


By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

Because this newspaper is on the Westside we tend to care more about the local teams. More Dodgers coverage than Angels, for example.

But it was different last year and it continues to be different this year because Angels telecasts draw three times as many viewers as Dodger telecasts.

That’s what surveys show as 70 percent of the potential Southern California audience can’t get Dodger telecasts that are available only on Time Warner.

It’s evident that a lot of baseball fans who can’t get the Dodgers are content to settle for the Angels.

I’m among those who are watching the Angels a lot and I converse with Angel beat writers who I respect on other papers, so I feel qualified to offer my opinions.

The Angels are currently a .500 team, not yet showing what they might be able to do later in the season. But there’s plenty of time left.

The Angels are fortunate to be in a division where highly regarded teams are as bad off as they are as June begins.

Seattle and Oakland are big disappointments and Texas had been even worse until it perked up in recent games.

Shockingly, Houston leads the division. It has been rebuilding the last few years and has been a last place team. But suddenly it has become a winner, aided by some new veteran players to mix with the young ones they’ve been developing.

What’s wrong with the Angels? Mike Trout is still very good but isn’t quite as dominant as last season when he was the American League MVP. The Angels miss Howie Kendrick, who they traded to the Dodgers. Jered Weaver isn’t the ace pitcher he’s been in past years. Matt Shomaker, who was 16-4 as an unknown who boosted the Angels last season, hasn’t been anywhere that good this season.

Then there’s the Josh Hamilton mess. The former American League MVP suffered a drug relapse and Angels owner Arte Moreno decided Hamilton should play elsewhere.

So the Angels traded Hamilton to Texas even though they’ll pay him $70 million of the $83 million that remained on his contract.

Hamilton hit two home runs in a game for Texas last week and had a game-winning double in another game.

During an Angels broadcast details were given of other American League games but none was given on the Texas game. Just the final score.

But despite all this the Angels were hovering only five games out of first place as this month started.

The Angels have the advantage of being guided by Mike Scioscia, a veteran manager who’s been through the baseball wars long enough to know a lo remains possible.

Can Houston hold u? Maybe, but this is a team that hasn’t been in a hot pennant race lately.

Will Seattle, which added Cruz this season to go along with Robinson Cano to become the favorite to win the division, begin playing like it was expected to? We’ll see.

It doesn’t look very good for the Angels right now but I believe it’s too early to count them out.


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