At the beginning of the season, no one would have figured that the Los Angeles Angels would be the second best team in all of baseball. However, that is that case, and according to manager, Mike Scioscia, the team is "only getting better."
The Angels began their season on a down note, being swept in a three-game series by the Seattle Mariners, and muttering began. The Angels were in an awkward groove and no one felt it would be fixed.
However, the Angels finished the first month of baseball two games over .500 with a 14-12 record. For the Angels, it was the first time they had been over .500 since being 1-0 the season prior, right after Opening Day.
The Angels then went 16-12 in the month of May, having the third best record in the American League for the month. The month ended with a rough series against the Oakland Athletics, where they were swept in three games falling behind the first place team by a few games.
In June, the Angels went 11-1 at home, and continued their hot streak at home into July with an 11-game win streak at Angel Stadium. Home wins were not something that came just over the streak, but continuously over the season as the Halos are 32-15 at home thus far in 2014.
The Angels are currently sitting a game and a half out of first place behind Oakland, at the All-Star Break. The Angels are becoming more and more talked about and being shown as a serious postseason threat, even this early in the season.
The team has made some slight changes, acquiring relievers Jason Grilli from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Joe Thatcher from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Angels said goodbye to some familiar prospects and former team closer, Ernesto Frieri, while in the process.
The Angels also parted ways with off-season free agent signee, Raul Ibanez. Ibanez bat just .157 during his time with the Angels but had a large impact on the clubhouse atmosphere. The Angels and Ibanez were both sad to part ways but the job just wasn't being done. Luckily for Ibanez, he was picked up very soon after by the Kansas City Royals, where he has been playing of recent helping them with their run towards first place in the American League Central Division.
The Angels have also seen new faces, C.J. Cron, and Mike Morin who have helped the team in large ways. Cron currently has a slash of .278/.307/.497 with nine home runs and 27 RBI, helping the offense in a large way as the new designated hitter. Morin has been one of the better relief pitchers for the Angels this season, posting a 2.08 earned run average and 1.04 WHIP, helping the Angels stay in close games throughout his time over the 2014 campaign.
Angels starting pitching has excelled, posting the third best ERA for starters in the league. This has been helped mostly by Garrett Richards, who has taken over as the new ace of the rotation. Richards has posted a 2.55 earned run average and 1.06 WHIP over the season and nearly earned himself an All-Star appearance.
The Angels offense is lead by, wait for it, it will be legen... dary. Okay, sorry, but is it any shock that Mike Trout has lead the Halos offense? I didn't think so. Trout's average is down from previous years but everything else is up, particularly his power numbers as he has 22 home runs, 73 RBI, and a .606 slugging percentage. Trout is posting MVP-esque numbers, as expected from him, and seems to be getting better and better as the season continues.
The Angels will take the second half, looking to add to their bullpen and continue their hot offense, while their pitchers continue to pitch deep into games. The one and a half games behind Oakland is the closest the Angels have been to first place all season and plan to chase after that team, but also play their own game heading into the trade deadline, and far into September, hoping for a late October run and possibly, a ring for every member at the end of the season.