THE ANGELS HAVE THE BEST OFFENSE IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE! - in July, that is. Their 151 runs scored lead the league. Their numbers so far this month:
Runs: 151 (1st)
AVG: .307 (2nd)
OBP: .368 (1st)
SLG: .485 (3rd)
Believe it or not, they are FOURTH in walks with 83 - who are these guys and where are the hackers that we so dearly love?
The next big question, of course, is whether or not this is sustainable. Well, these ARE the Angels, so I think not. Before you assume, however, that this is all Juan Having a Big Month, think again. Even if you remove Rivera's stats, the team would still be batting .301 for the month. So even though I don't think this offensive production can keep up, things are not as bleak as I would have thought. In fact, here is the breakdown of the Halos this month (players with over 50 AB's):
Player - BA (Comment)
Guerrero - .385 (Probably not sustainable, but this IS Vlad...)
Rivera - .363 (.322 career hitter after All-Star break)
Izturis - .309 (career .232 hitter in only 298 AB's; .311 career at AAA )
Anderson - .306 (this surprised me he was hitting this well this month; .298 career hitter )
Figgins - .297 (.292 career hitter)
Kennedy - .286 (.281 career hitter)
Morales - .259 (unknown how he may perform if/when he gets back)
Cabrera - .226 (first half mirage?)
Napoli - .169 (probably a streaky hitter, but still drawing walks)
Contributions from players with fewer AB's include Kendrick (.485 in 33 AB's), Quinlan (.400 in 35 AB's) and Molina (.346! In 26 AB's). Those numbers will almost certainly regress. (But wouldn't it be cool if Howie batted, I don't know, .370 the rest of the way?)
What do I see? Well, I just can't BELIEVE that they are a real good offensive team. Most likely, though, this is a middle-of-the-pack offense when all is said and done - that may be enough to win the division. But... don't be surprised if the offense isn't as bad as it was earlier in the year.
This offensive surge, as everyone reading this knows, has coincided with a strong pitching performance, too. The Angels lead the AL with a 3.47 July ERA. If one is looking for an area to be concerned, this might be it, rather than the offense. The numbers:
Weaver 1.65 ERA
As well as Weaver has looked so far, and as big of a fan as I am of Lackey, neither pitcher is likely to continue to post these kinds of numbers. This, coupled with various health issues, means that the starting staff will probably be less effective as we play down the stretch. Unfortunately, this will put a larger burden on an inconsistent bullpen...not good. Joe Saunders, or maybe even Chris Bootcheck, may be the KEY to how this team finishes.