2015 has been a rough year for the Angels, in more ways than I can count on one hand...possibly even two hands...maybe it'd take two hands and a foot, I don't know. But still, we're here, and this team..THIS TEAM OF LEGENDS...is going to go all the way. I'm not talking about all the way to the parking lot after a loss, or all the way to the bank, or "all the way" in the parlance of the poet Meatloaf. I'm talking ALL THE WAY as in World Series-winners-riding-fire-trucks-in-a-November-parade-forcing-you-to-call-out-sick-from-work-because-youre-celebrating-a-second-Angels-championship ALL THE WAY!*
Okay, so maybe after a putrid August, a slumping and possibly injured Mike Trout, a cratering Albert Pujols, a broken down rotation, and litany of injuries, questionable lineup construction from manager Mike Scioscia, an untrustworthy bullpen and a lack of viable options on the farm, you may think that I'm insane, or perhaps I ate some moldy bread and/or grains by accident, and now I'm tripping my dome off. Neither is the case...well, perhaps the former has some merit, but hear me out, first.
The AL West:
So the big, bad Houston Astros look like the real deal. Even so, the Angels have six games remaining against them, which means the current 5.0 game lead the Astros have could be easily overcome if the Halos pull out some wins, and Houston loses some games, for whatever reason. Yes, they have whooped on the Angels so far in 2015, and there's really no reason to think that the Angels can beat them down this final stretch, but seriously, quit being all negative, dude. Anything can happen! I can honestly** see the Angels pitching staff, primarily Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards, getting back on track and absolutely lighting up Houston's lineup, calling for some close, one-run games between the two teams, and when games are that close, it's anybody's...uhhh...game. So, yeah.
The Rangers have all of a sudden become another AL West headache for the Angels to deal with. But look, if it's one thing I've learned around Halos Heaven, it's that the Rangers ALWAYS*** slow down in September, in the heat. It gets hot in Arlington, right? That heat will cause them great discomfort, so much so that they can no longer play good baseball. The Angels also have a handful of games against them in the final month of baseball, so even more opportunities to climb over them in the standings. The Angels just have to heat up, but not in the way the Rangers are heating up. This is a different heat...really it's just a metaphor...but the point remains that the Angels will take a few games against them at home, and then in the final series of 2015, they'll go into Arlington, where the Rangers will be all "Uhhhh, it's so friggin' hot. Who cares about playing this dumb game, I gots mad swamp ass to worry about, bruh"**** while the Angels are scorin' and soarin'.
Are you ready for some repeat AL West champions up in this mug?! I know I am. But if that seems a little TOO optimistic, then A) you're not even a REAL fan, you jerk and B) I guess I can go over the Wild Card picture but seriously, it's a waste of time because the Angels are winning the West.
The downer here is that the Angels, if they're thinking about the Wild Card, are looking at the second Wild Card spot, because either Toronto or NY is going to have that first WC spot locked down tighter than Chris Iannetta's bunghole*****. Either way, we're looking at a one game playoff scenario between either one of these teams, if the Angels were to go the WC route. No problem. The Yankees are nobodies...I know they swept the Angels last time they came through the Bronx, but I think the Angels weren't even trying that day, or something******. And Toronto? Forget that sweep they just completed in total, embarrassing fashion over this past weekend. That was a warm up to the main event: David Price and the Blue Jays getting their rear ends kicked by the Angels in a one game race to the promised land. I think the Angels actually sent Matt Shoemaker down to AAA so he could get some easy innings in while keeping fresh, all in hopes of using him in the huge, single game showdown, where he'll probably confound the Toronto sluggers, pitching a no-hitter*******, while Mike Trout goes 5-5 with 3 HRs and two triples, and the Angels go on to the ALDS. It's really a genius, future-minded move by the Halos, and we should applaud them for it. Nobody ever expects the Shoemaker Inquistion.
For reals, though:
It's not going to be an easy road, if the Angels want to make it to the post-season...but it wont be as hard as Texas' road, if you go off of Fangraphs strength of remaining schedule. Of course, the bad news is that Toronto and Houston also had easy schedules going forward for the rest of the season. While we're on the Fangraphs tip, it's interesting to note that the Angels are projected to finish the remainder of the season going 20-18(.518) while the Rangers are projected to go 19-20(.497) in the home stretch. This could put the Angels and Rangers in a virtual tie for a Wild Card spot. The Blue Jays and Astros are projected to be just fine in this time span, but obviously Fangraphs doesn't know what they're talking about when it comes to these two teams, because the Angels are infinitely better than both of those clubs.********
As for the Astros and Blue Jays playoff odds, those are currently at about 96.6% and 92.9%, respectively. Again, this is utter hogwash. Especially when considering the Angels playoff odds sitting at 33.2%. I mean, a figure that low must mean that they're projections are factoring in Albert Pujols coming alive again in September, and Mike Trout having his best monthly OPS of his career in that same time span, or the FACT that Kaleb Cowart and C.J. Cron will emerge as superstars*********. When you take those things into consideration, the playoff odds increase to about 78.4%**********.
But still, let's say that Fangraphs' stupid, insulting 33.2% is realistic. That's still a 1/3 chance, kinda sorta. That'd be doable, and while I've already bet my home and my grandparents' farm that the Angels are going to win it all this year, I'd easily throw down that same bet on some measly 33.2.% odds. Playoffs are a crapshoot, don't you know? The Angels just need to get their foot in the door, and then they'll suddenly go Super Saiyan and straight wreck fools.
If you don't believe me, then I'm sorry you're not a REAL fan. I'm a REAL fan, and I've done REAL research*********** on the subject. Clear your schedule in November. We gots some partying to do.
*there is a chance the Angels do NOT go all the way
**I could be stretching a bit here
***maybe not always...sometimes they actually win and stuff
****my impression of a Rangers baseball player. A player may or may not actually say this in real life
*****this is assuming Chris Iannetta makes whiskey at his home in his spare time, and is in reference to the bunghole on one of his casks
******they MAY have been trying, still waiting on a reply to the email I sent to Mike Scioscia. I'm just assuming they didn't try, because it sure looked like they weren't trying
*******pure speculation on my part, but c'mon...
********ok, so this isn't true at all
*********might be a stretch here...they may end up simply being "stars", not "superstars". Also, they may end up being neither, fwiw
**********I used a special algorithm called MAYHEM to get this probability
***********I Googled some stuff, didn't look at anything that went contrary to my unabashed post-season optimism, ignored most good sense I have left in my brain, and heavily consulted the Halos Heaven Facebook page comments section.