The Angels home woes continue

ANAHEIM – Expectations for the Angles coming into the season were not sky-high, but Ron Washington‘s first season as the franchise’s leader has been disappointing so far, nonetheless.

The Los Angeles Angels lost a second consecutive game at home to the Houston Astros on Saturday, 6-1. Yordon Alverez led the way for Houston, going 3-4 with a home run. Tyler Anderson got the start for Los Angeles, picking up a loss while giving up four runs. He had only given up one run in each of his previous four games.

“They put some balls in play that found some holes. (Anderson) tried to get a ball inside on Alverez, and it leaked back over the plate. He got us through six innings, and all night, we put ourselves in a position to put some runs on the board; we just didn’t come up with a hit. If we could have done something in one of those situations, it would have made a difference in that ballgame,” said Washington.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Anderson, seen here against the New York Yankees, pitched six innings and gave up four earned runs in a 6-1 defeat to the Houston Astros on June 8, 2024. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Los Angeles has once again failed to stay healthy and have struggled mightily to win at home. Their 10-23 record at Angel Stadium is the worst in the league.

The frustrating part is that they are only three games below .500 on the road, and the rest of the division has not been great. Seattle is the only team with a winning record, and the Mariners’ 36 wins are the fewest of any division leader. Despite being in last place, the Angels are only 11 back, with 98 games still to play.

42 games remain on the schedule before the trade deadline, and that stretch will likely determine whether or not they are sellers. If they can string some wins together and their three-time MVP Mike Trout returns, the division title is not necessarily out of reach.

“We would certainly like to play better at home. I thought after we played San Diego, it would give us some momentum, but then we ran into the Houston Astros pitching staff and put up two runs in two games,” said Washington. “We’re just gonna keep coming out every day grinding and see where it takes us.”

In theory, if Trout were healthy and had Shohei Ohtani‘s contract not expired at the end of last season, this team could easily be leading the AL West. Instead, it looks like it may be time to replenish their farm system, which sits near the bottom of the league (ranked last by MLB.com entering the season).

Last year, Los Angeles decided not to trade Ohtani midseason, and they ended up missing the playoffs while also getting nothing in return for arguably the best player in the league. A trade for Ohtani would have commanded one of the highest return prices one could offer.

If the Angles opt for youth and move on from some of their veteran pieces this time around, there will be two names at the top of the contending team’s lists: Trout and Anderson.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout (27) looks at his two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 7, 2023. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout (27) looks at his two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 7, 2023. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Trout is expected to return at some point this year and is still one of the best hitters in the MLB. He is the type of player who could transform a borderline playoff team into a World Series contender and a World Series contender into the clear-cut favorite to win the title.

Trout is still under contract for six more years after this season, which could be attractive to some teams but a turn-off for others. He is an elite-level player but has become injury-prone over the second half of his career, playing in under half of his team’s games over the past four seasons.

Trout says he is “feeling good” and “pretty close.”

“They have a plan for me, but we’re not there yet. Just take it one day at a time, and whenever it feels right, I’ll be out there,” said Trout.

It is unlikely that the Angles pull the trigger on a Trout trade because he is the face of the franchise and will put fans in the seats every night until he eventually retires. Six years of Mike Trout selling tickets might be more valuable to the Angels than his service on the field would be to another team.

Ron Washington at a press conference set up by the Los Angeles Angels that would introduce him as the new manager of the team. File photo/Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4uonline

That being said, if somebody wants him bad enough, he would bring back a very nice return.

Tyler Anderson has been one of the bright spots for Los Angeles this year. He is having an All-Star caliber season, much like he did two years ago for the Dodgers before the Angeles signed him to a three-year $39 million deal. He was dealt his sixth loss of the season against the Astros, but his 2.63 ERA ranks inside the top ten of all major league starters.

Anderson is the player most likely to be traded by the Angels this year. He would be one of, if not the best, pitcher on the market if he is moved. Quality left-handed starters are highly coveted, and he has a unique delivery that batters are not used to. Having one extra year on his contract is also an added bonus for teams looking to acquire his services.

If Anderson keeps his strong start to the season up and Los Angeles continues to fall in the standings, trading him at the deadline will jumpstart the process of building up the minor league system.

Top image caption: Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Anderson in action against the Houston Astros on June 8, 2024. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

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