When the Angels allow runs to score, while already having two outs on their opponent, I typically will give a futile, but necessary, scream into the Halosphere, usually in the form of an angry tweet. It’s becoming a 2017 tradition already, even though the season is only about 5 weeks underway; that just shows you how bad the Angels have been in that department. However, it’s not the only thing the Halos are doing far too regularly, much to the dismay of my sanity.
They’re also hitting into a TON of double plays. Double plays are stupid. Both situations (allowing runs with two outs & hitting into double plays) on different sides of the game, both equally sickening and both with the innate ability to make me curse the heavens, or at the very least, as previously mentioned, send out a not-so-nice tweet aimed at our beloved Angels.
Let’s look at where they are in these dubious stat leader boards:
Angels’ earned runs allowed, two outs on board: 59 (T-2nd most in all MLB)
Angels’ weighted grounded into double play runs: (-3.2) (30th out of all MLB)
That’s not good.
Those 59 earned runs allowed, which has them tied for second-most in all of baseball (tied with Phillies and Reds) is something that is becoming all too common. We saw it kill some games in Seattle, and we saw some of this atrociousness over the weekend, when Houston was in town.
Who is the worst at this two-out crime? Sadly, it’s Matt Shoemaker. Right now, Matt Shoemaker leads all of MLB with 14 earned runs while there are two down. Jesse Chavez also makes an appearance in the overall top 10 (he’s #6, with 10 two-out runs allowed). There isn’t another Angel in the top 50, and no other team has TWO guys in the top 10, like we do.
That’s how horrible they’ve been with two down...most teams don’t have more than one pitcher in the top 30, the Angels have two in the TOP 10! It’s really, really hard to win games when you’re giving up that many runs, while you’ve also got 2⁄3 of the side completed. The Angels are having issues closing the deal, it seems. By the way, the first place Astros have the lowest two-out earned runs allowed mark in the AL (2nd lowest overall) at 32.
Now, as for the double play issue. First off, I looked at wGDP. What is wGDP? Well, from Fangraphs:
Weighted Grounded into Double Play Runs (wGDP) is the number of runs above or below average a player has accumulated based on their ability to stay out of double plays....
It’s measured in runs above or below average, just like all of the other run value stats. If a player has a positive wGDP, it means they are adding runs to their team by avoiding double plays. A negative value means they’re hurting their team with all the double plays.
So, the Halos, as a team, currently have -3.2 weighted grounded into double play runs BELOW average. That’s the worst wGDP in all of baseball right now, and second worst (Astros) have a full run difference between them and the Halos (-2.2 to -3.2), so the Angels have a commanding lead in this category that you do NOT want to be commanding.
Who is the main offender on the Angels in wGDP? That’d be Cameron Maybin, who accounts for -1.2 wGDP runs below average. Yunel Escobar is a close second, though (-1.0). In raw numbers, Maybin’s hit into seven DPs, Escobar has hit into six. The Angels, as a whole, have hit into 34 double plays, with only the Red Sox and Braves hitting more, so far (both have hit into 35 DPs).
While the Angels have lost a couple series in a row now, to the Mariners and the Astros, at least three of those games had big win probability swings, all thanks in part to at least one, if not both, of these two glaring problems facing the Halos. It’s tough enough to win games without Mike Trout, as we recently learned, but it’s equally tough when you’re shooting yourself in the foot with double plays and two-out runs.
The Astros, sitting pretty in first place, are proof that you can have success while still being a leader in ONE of those sad statistics, but not BOTH. The Angels are the maddening proof of the latter.
I’m not sure how you fix this, exactly, but I do know that these two regularly-occurring things are having the same effect on my baseball outlook as a hundred little papercuts would have on my body. Meaning, they’re little isolated incidents, mildly painful, on their own, but added up, they are enough to make me cry in agony.