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The Un-Clutch Angels - what’s going on?

Angels aren’t coming through when they need to this year

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Good teams win close ball games. Good teams score runs. Good teams come from behind to win. Sure, the Angels do this sometimes, but they are struggling bad this year when it comes to these situations.

This team is having a REALLY hard time scoring runs at times. They have won exactly zero games when they haven’t scored. Crazy, right? Some other numbers are bit frightening as well, like the 1-11 record when they score 1 run or fewer. Or how about the 9-25 record when they score 3 or fewer runs? The problem with that is in more than 50% of their games they have scored 3 or fewer runs. Ouch. When they CAN score, good things happen. Increase that to games in which they have score 4+ runs and they are 28-4. It’s a pretty dramatic difference.

Coming from behind to win? Not so much. There is a reason many of us tune out when the Angels are down early - the odds are not great. Here is their winning % by inning when they are behind:

3rd: 27%
4th: 28%
5th: 26%
6th: 17%
7th: 18%
8th: 8%

Sure, most teams have a hard time coming back but let’s compare those numbers to the first place Mariners:

3rd: 48%
4th: 48%
5th: 44%
6th: 36%
7th: 32%
8th: 17%

The difference is staggering.

FanGraphs has a stat called “clutch”. The Clutch stat measures players and teams in terms of how well they’ve performed in high leverage situations. The Angels are 21st in MLB.

They are 21st despite Mike Trout having a .520 OBP with RISP and 2 outs or a .329 AVG when the team is behind. Or Andrelton Simmons who is hitting .320 when the team is behind and .400 in high leverage situations. Or Albert Pujols who has a .338 AVG and .471 SLG with RISP and a .333 AVG in high leverage situations.

As a team, the Angels have a 38% K rate and .184 AVG on 2 strike counts - and that is with Andrelton Simmons who is hitting .397 on 2 strike counts.

However, some good news in that they have the 8th best AVG in baseball with runners in scoring position and 2 outs - as well as the 9th best AVG with the bases loaded. Not all is lost.

The Angels are also not getting off to strong starts and rank 17th for runs scored in the first 4 innings of a game. The teams below the Angels in that category? A’s, White Sox, Rangers, Twins, Tigers, Reds, Padres. Not teams you are very proud to be beating.

So, what happens when you aren’t good at coming from behind and get off to slow starts? Well, you go 24-27 over your last 51 games despite having a starting pitching staff that has the 5th best ERA in baseball since April 21st.