In the midst of a 2-7 slump, I realized how spoiled I am to be an Angels fan (did the three game losing streak keep anybody else up at night?). Then I looked at the standings and realized that we are still 5 games up on the Rangers. Baseball Prospectus still has us at an 84% chance of making the playoffs. More importantly, Gary Mathews Jr. Jr. Prospectus has us at a 100% chance of making the playoffs.
Over the last couple of years, the Halos haven't had much success in the postseason. We are a really good team, and if we follow my playoff checklist, we will be playing deep into October.
1. Two of our starting pitchers step up
It's safe to say our starting pitching has underperformed this year. However, last nights game against the Tigers was HUGE!!! Not only because it put us another game up on Texas, but because a healthy, rested Joe Saunders gives us the consistent starting pitcher we need. If Lackey, Santana, or Weaver can figure it out before the playoffs as well, it will give us the necessary one-two punch that can go head-to-head with the Beckett/Lester and the Verlander/Jackson combos--especially with our offense.
2. Play Napoli
It's been recorded on this site before that the run prevention capabilities of our two catchers is about the same. As noted by the patients in the blind-kid ward at your local orphanage, Mike Napoli is the far superior batsman. Mike Napoli has fallen to 2nd place behind another rugged, Italian backstop on the all time list of AB/HR for a catcher, but he is still ~2,000 places ahead of Mathis, owner of the .199/.279/.326 career slash.
3. Stop platooning Quinlan
Maybe Q's unassuming midwestern looks remind Soth of another of his fair skinned man crushes, but this doesn't mean he should get an automatic spot on the line-up card against lefties. Not only is Kendry Morales our BEST HITTER but his .270/.283/.440 as a RH is better than Quinlan's .245/.275/.347.
4. Play Howie
This might get backlash from some of you, but Mighty Maicer is just not as good as Howard. Kendrick has been absolutely mashing since he got back to the big leagues. I'll take Kenrick's three-run jacks over Micetits "clutchiness" any day.
5. Stay healthy
This is a little out of anybody's control but please, no pink eye this year.
If the team can do these things (three of them are easy), us Angels fans will be muchhappier bunch this October.