This is a big week for the Angels. Fortunately, they’ve already have a few big weeks in a roaring 13-3 start that has fans in Anaheim thinking back 16 years to the glory days. But, as I would point out with tonight’s opponent the Red Sox, who have the Angels really beaten yet?
Both Boston and Anaheim (yes, I’m calling them Anaheim) haven’t had a chance to prove their mettle against the big boys. Until now, that is. Boston took two out of three from the only worth opponent they’ve faced, outscoring the Yankees 27-14 at Fenway in the process. Impressive, but not earth-shattering. The Angels took two out of three at home against the Indians, outscoring the Tribe 16-10. Same takeaway there.
But if we are really going to take the 2018 Halos seriously, it starts tonight. I don’t give a you-know-what about what anyone says in regards to April baseball, because it’s been April baseball where the last five World Series champions have excelled most. It’s my favorite “got hot and forgot” theory that has carried teams to titles the last half-decade.
The 2013 Red Sox (20-8), 2014 Giants (42-21), 2015 Royals (28-14), 2016 Cubs (25-6), and 2017 Astros (42-16) all had ridiculously hot starts to their seasons before leveling off somewhat. Unlike, say, the Washington Capitals over in hockey, they understand the importance of giving themselves margin for error with a hot start, then conserving energy for September and October. So at 13-2 and 13-3 respectively, the Red Sox and Angels have already made collective statements that they are AL contenders in 2018. Sure, the Yankees, Astros, and maybe even the Indians will have something to say about that, but these two teams are likely here to stay.
Shohei Ohtani is the talk of baseball, and all I can say is thank goodness he didn’t end up in Boston or the Bronx, because he is better than even advertised. But nearly no-hitting the Athletics is one thing. Shutting down the mighty Sox lineup, and outdueling David Price, is another. Could the Angels sweep this series and still end up 10 games under .500 while the Sox cruise to a fourth title in 15 years? Of course. But tonight’s game will have a playoff buzz to it, and no matter what the calendar says, playoff-caliber teams always raise their level of play in big games. So we’ll learn a lot about where both of these clubs stand after this series — especially the Angels.