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Angels playoff chances likely improved in a shortened season

As pitchers get healthier, a short season could improve the Angels’ postseason hopes

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Los Angeles Angels v. Milwaukee Brewers

Players and owners continue to negotiate about a potential season, with the latest discussions centering on owners focusing on a shortened season, perhaps as few as 50 games.

Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs explored the 2019 season in 50-game chunks, trying to see how the playoff picture might have changed, without including the proposed expanded playoff format from 10 to 14 teams, which includes three wild card teams in each league.

The Angels lost 90 games and finished fourth in the actual season last year, but did relatively well with winning records in May, June, and July. As such, they would have reached the postseason in two out of five 50-game sections outlined by Jaffe.

From games 26-75, the Angels were 29-21, which would have earned them the second wild card spot and a one-game matchup against the 30-20 Red Sox, who also missed the playoffs in the actual results.

The Angels also went 29-21 in games 51-100, which would have had them in the wild card game against the 30-20 A’s.

That’s using 2019 data. For 2020, the Angels’ playoff chances improving in a shortened season makes more sense, with the impact of previous injuries to Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning lessened in a shortened season. Both starting pitchers have recently been ramping up their mound work in Anaheim and would presumably ready for any MLB season that starts in July or later, which would give the Angels a better shot at reaching the postseason, whether the season is 50 games, 80 games, or something in between.