The Los Angeles Angels eagerly race into the 2013 campaign with as high of expectations as any team in the Majors, yet they’re not even within $60 million of the highest payroll. They have the Dodgers spending spree and Mike Trout‘s rookie contract to thank for that.
The Angels Opening Day game was more than you could ask for–an extra inning, affair winner. Still though, in a long list of impressive performances across the nation, the Angels victory got very little love.
It’s unfair that the team featuring Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols didn’t even make the back page. But the big names didn’t have big days. They weren’t part of the discussion opening day. Particularly unfair they were compared and upstaged by a team (or player rather) that is not in their division, nor league. But if if it’s unfair to be compared to NL teams, why did they open up against an NL team for some reason?
Oh, because the Houston Astros moved to the AL West this season. There is now 15 teams in each league. Now there will be 1 inter-league game every day. On Opening Day, the Angels and Cincinnati Reds were that one game.
A long list of incredible performances like Clayton Kershaw‘s complete game shutout and game winning home run, Bryce Harper‘s 2 Home Runs, and Strasburg Verlander King Felix and Chris Sale‘s impressive performances on the mound upstaged the Angels. The Angels had their own stars in the exciting, 13 inning game.
Chris Iannetta and the bullpen starred for the Angels. Iannetta drove in the first run on a solo home run, and the game winning runs on a single in the top of the 13th for the 3-1 victory. The most disappointing feature of last year’s team not named Vernon Wells (too soon) combined for 6 innings of shutout baseball on Monday. Garrett Richards, Sean Burnett, Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs, Mark Lowe, and Ernesto Frieri combined to shut out one the majors most potent offenses after Jered Weaver went 6 innings.
For not having any fanfare, what is going to make the biggest difference for the Angels this year is winning these types of games. Some games Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and/or Josh Hamilton will carry the potent Halos lineup. But if the Angels want to party like it’s 2002 these are the types of performances they are going to need consistently.
Hubsters, Did the Angels get hosed with almost no national attention?