Los Angeles Angels
1961: As one of baseball’s first expansion teams in 60 years, just getting ready for their first season was a problem for the Los Angeles Angels. Originally it had been planned that they be among four teams to begin to play in 1962. However, a deal allowing relocation to Minnesota for Washington Senators Owner Calvin Griffith forced the Angels to get ready without a home field. The plan was for the Angels to share Dodger Stadium until a permanent home could be found. The Stadium at Chavez Ravine would not be ready for another year, so the Angels had to use a minor league stadium used by the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels. The stadium they were set to play in was called Wrigley Field since it was a smaller but almost exact duplicate of the famous stadium in Chicago. This stadium was the shooting location for several renowned baseball movies, including “Pride of the Yankee,” as well as the 1960 TV show “Home Run Derby,” which saw the era’s best hitters slugging it out for money every week. American League baseball in California was all set to begin as the Angels took the field for their first game ever on April 11th. Gene Autry, who made a name of himself as “The Singing Cowboy” in westerns, owned the expansion team. When Autry’s Angels took the field that 1st day in Baltimore with a mixture of unproven rookies and veteran castoffs in the very first Inning Ted Kluszewski connected for a two-run homer to give the Halos an early lead. Big Klu would hit another two-run homer later in the game as the Angels won their first game 7-2. Despite the promising start, the Angels would never be a factor in the pennant race. However, with their 71-91 record remains the best finish for an expansion team’s first year.
1962: Sharing the brand new Dodger Stadium with their cross-town rivals, the Angels with virtually the same team as the year before surprised everyone by challenging the New York Yankees for the pennant for most of the season. There was magic all year at the stadium called Chavez Ravine during Angels home games, which was highlighted on May 5th when came when colorful Lefty Bo Belinsky No hit the Baltimore Orioles. Eventually, the Angels would fade and finish in third place with an 86-76 record.
1963: The Angels came back to earth in their third season, finishing in 9th place with a disappointing 70-91 record.
1964: The Angels rebounded of their miserable season, as pitcher Dean Chance emerged out of nowhere to dominate the American League. Chance would only get off to a 5-5 start, but his 2.13 ERA would show it was due to lack of run support. Chance would only get stronger, finishing the season with a 20-9 record and a microscopic 1.65 ERA. Chance would lift his team to finish over .500 with an 82-80 fifth place record. After the season, Dean Chance, at 23 years old, became the youngest player at that time to win the Cy Young, which was only awarded to one pitcher from all of baseball.
1965: Trying to forge their own identity, the Angels drop Los Angles from their name, and become the California Angels, as work begins on a new stadium in nearby Anaheim. The California Angels would go on to finish in 7th place with a 75-87 record.
1966: Sharing a city with Dodgers was problematic alone, but sharing a stadium with the premier team in baseball was too much to bear for the Angels. A stadium was built for the Angles in the nearby community of Anaheim, located in the heart of Orange County. The Angels would finish their first season in Anaheim with a 7th place 80-82 record, but the move paid off as attendance improved from 566,727 to 1,400,321.
1967: In just its second season, Anaheim Stadium would play host to the longest game in All-Star history. The National League would eventually win the game 2-1 on Tony Perez 15th inning double. There was also excitement for the Angels, as the team was involved in one of the tightest pennant races in baseball history before finishing in fifth place with an 84-77 record of only eight games out of the top spot.
1968: The Angels struggle form the start and narrowly avoid finishing in last place with a miserable 67-95 record.
1969: Original Manager Bill Rigney is fired in the ninth season as the Angels get off to a miserable start losing 28 of their first 39 games. Under his replacement Lefty Phillips the Angels would play nearly .500 as they finished in third place with a 71-91 record.
1970: After two miserable 90-loss seasons, the Angels rebounded to an 86-76 record good enough for third place in the Western Division. Pacing the team was OF Alex Johnson, who the Angels had acquired in the off-season from the Cincinnati Reds. Johnson would have a career-best season batting .329 good enough for the batting title.
1971: After a disappointing 76-86 season, the Angels stunned their fans by trading away one of their first real stars Jim Fregosi to the New York Mets. In return, the Angels received a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher that was plagued with wildness. Eventually, pitching coach Jimmie Reese would help smooth out the rough edges. Nolan Ryan would become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, as the trade would go down as one of the most lob-sided in baseball history.
1972: Under new Manager Del Rice, the Angels continue to struggle to finish in fifth place with a record of 75-80. Rice would be replaced following the season by Bobby Winkles.
1973: In one of the most dominating seasons in baseball history, Nolan Ryan had batters shaking their heads all year, unable to hit the heat he served up on every start. Nolan would strike out an incredible 383 batters on the season, establishing a new record. Highlighting Nolan’s season was his first no-hitter in Kansas City on May 15th. Nolan would later duplicate the feat precisely two months later in Detroit. In the Detroit, No-Hitter Nolan would strike out 17 Tigers just one short of the old AL record held by Bob Feller. In a taste of comic relief, Tigers 1B Norm Cash would approach the plate with a wooden table leg, the umpires noticed and made him change, but it did not matter what he used Nolan was just un-hittable. He would go on to finish with a 21-16 record and a 2.87 ERA. His record hurt by a mediocre hitting Angels’ team that finished in fourth place with a 79-83 record. However, Nolan loses out to Jim Palmer in voting for the Cy Young.
1974: The Nolan Express kept riding hard despite the Angels having a dreadful last place 68-94 season. Nolan would again strike out well over 300 batters and would win 22 games despite shabby run support. The highlight for the Angels would come on September 28th when Nolan Ryan threw his third career no-hitter in his final start of the season against the Minnesota Twins in front of a small crowd at Anaheim Stadium.
1975: With the Angels finishing in last again with a record of 72-89, Nolan Ryan starts to become the only thing for Angels fans to look forward to. On June 1st at Anaheim Stadium Nolan would make magic again, as he no-hit the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 1-0 it would be Nolan’s fourth No-No in three years and would tie him with Sandy Koufax for the most all-time.
1976: Manager Dick Williams is fired in the middle of the team’s sixth straight losing season as the team finishes strong under his replacement Norm Sherry but still post a poor record of 76-86.
1977: The Angels continue to struggle as they post their seventh straight losing season while finishing in fifth place with a record of 74-88.
1978: Even with Nolan Ryan struggling most of the season, the Angels manage to contend for the Western Division title. The Angels would struggle early, but after hiring Jim Fregosi as their manager, the team managed to play some good ball finally. However, they could not manage to catch the Kansas City Royals, as they ended up five games back with an 87-75 record. Unfortunately, the positive season would have a gray cloud over it as OF Lyman Bostock was murdered by a female acquaintance’s ex-husband on September 23rd while visiting Gary, Indian, following a road game against the Chicago White Sox.
1979: With the acquisition of Rod Carew, the Angels hoped that they could finally get over the hump and into the postseason. The move would pay off as American League MVP Don Baylor led the league with 139 RBI and helped lead the Angels to an 88-74 record, which was good enough to beat the Kansas City Royals out by three games. Dave Frost and Nolan Ryan, each won 16 games, led the Halos. In the ALCS, the Angels would face the powerful Baltimore Orioles. In Game 1, the Halos would hold their own with Nolan Ryan on the mound, as the game would go to extra innings before John Lowenstein won the game for the Orioles with a three-run homer. In Game 2, the Orioles would smack Dave Frost around to take an early 9-1 lead. There was no quit in these Angels and would score seven runs in the last four innings to fall just one run short. Despite the valiant effort, the Angels were on the brink down 2-0 with series heading to Anaheim. The Orioles would lead the Angels 3-2 in the ninth, but Larry Harlow drove in the tying and winning runs with a double to avert the sweep. The Angels would not be able to repeat the magic the next day as Baltimore closed them out 8-0 to advance to the World Series.
1980: Hurt by the loss of Nolan Ryan to free agency, and an injury-plagued season from reigning MVP Don Baylor the Angels finish with an awful 66-95 record, finishing in sixth place.
1981: In a season cut in half by a strike, the Angels are barely over .500 on June 15th when the strike hits. They would not do any better after the strike finishing the second half in last place with a 20-30 record and posting an overall record of 51-59.
1982: Thought to be washed up after a poor season, Reggie Jackson was allowed to sign elsewhere by the New York Yankees. He would sign with the Angels and would go on to prove he had a lot left as he led the AL with 39 Home Runs. Reggie’s signing had helped revitalize the Angels, who were back in contention again after two disappointing seasons. In a tight three-way race with Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, the Angels traded for Tommy John, and it would pay off as he would win four games down the stretch to help the Angels win a franchise-best 93 games en-route to their second division title. In the ALCS, the Angels would face the Milwaukee Brewers, who had a potent lineup. In Game 1, all the power was with Halos as Don Baylor drove in five runs for the 8-3 win. The Angels would win again in Game 2 to take a commanding 2-0 lead to Milwaukee. However, the Brewers bats would take over in the next two games to force a fifth and deciding game. In Game 5, the Angels would take a 3-2 lead to the bottom of the seventh. However, the lead would slip away as Cecil Cooper drove in the tying and winning runs. Not even the presence of Mr. October could help the Halos get back in the game as the Angels became the first team to blow a 2-0 in an LCS.
1983: With Reggie Jackson batting a meager .194, the Angels fall out of the race early and follow up their second Division title the same way they did their first by losing more than 90 games, at 70-92. The sole highlight for the Angels comes in the All-Star Game when Fred Lynn wins the game’s MVP by becoming the first player ever to hit a Grand Slam in the mid-summer classic.
1984: Despite threading around .500 all year, the Angels would contend for the Western Division until the end of the season. While the division chase was on, Anaheim became the center of attention on the milestone watch as Reggie Jackson approached his 500th Career HR. Reggie and the Angels would enter a crucial series with the Royals in mid-September needing one for 500, and one game out in the standings. On September 17th Reggie would connect for his milestone ironically 17 years to the date after he hit the first of his career. However, the Home Run was just one run, and the Kansas City Royals would go on to win the game 10-1 and pull away with the division title. Despite finishing second, the Halos would still manage to make news on the final day of the season. Mike Witt entered the last game of the season in Texas with one goal in mind win, to have the Angels finished at the .500 mark. Witt would more than surpass his goal by pitching a perfect game and giving Angels’ fans something to look forward to next season.
1985: For the second season in a row, Angels fans got to see one of their fan favorites eclipse a career milestone. This time it was Rod Carew whose sweet swing, helped turn the Angels into real contenders for the first time six years earlier. As Carew approached the 3,000 hit mark, it almost seemed appropriate the Angels would be facing his old team the Minnesota Twins as he closed in on the mark. The date would be August 4th, and as he had done much time before he used his smooth swing to get the ball up the middle of his old team. The hit came on the same day that Tom Seaver reached 300 wins and would be forever known as Milestone Sunday. The Angels fared pretty well themselves contending for the division title all season until losing out on the final day with a solid 90-72 record.
1986: For the third year in a row, an Angel made history in front of the home fans of Anaheim. This time, Don Sutton earned his 300th career win, with a 5-1 complete game against the Texas Rangers. Sutton would go on to win 15 games that season and be a vital piece in the Angels run for a title. One of the biggest stories on the Halos that year was the play of rookie 1B Wally Joyner who had the overwhelming burden of replacing Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who had retired in the off-season, Joyner more than pulled his weight by driving 100 runs. In doing so, Joyner became an instant fan favorite as fans routinely went to games, holding signs that read “Wally World.” The Angels would post a 92-70 record and take the division by five games over the Rangers. In the ALCS, the Angels faced the Boston Red Sox, the story of the series would focus on the manager Angels Gene Mauch, and Boston’s John MacNamara who were trying to put years of frustration aside, and advance to the World Series. The Halos would get off to a fast start by blasting Roger Clemens in the first game in Boston. The Sox would recover to even the series the next day, and the series moved to Anaheim tied at a game apiece. After taking Game 3, the Halos found themselves dominated by Roger Clemens all day in Game 4. In the ninth inning, the Rocket ran out of gas as the Angels would score three runs to tie the game and advance to extra innings where Bobby Grich’s 11th Inning HR gave the Angels a 3-1 series lead. In Game 5, in front of a crowd relay to party, Bobby Grich was the hero again for the moment when his HR in and out of the glove of Red Sox CF Dave Henderson gave the Halos a 5-2 lead. The lead would hold into the 9th when starter Mike Witt tired with two outs. Mauch would bring in ace closer Donnie Moore to get the final out to catapult the team on to the World Series. Moore faced the same Dave Henderson, who was looking like the goat after Bobby Grich’s HR. The Sox had two on and one run in, and with two strikes and all of Anaheim anticipating the final out, Henderson lifted a ball over the CF fence to give the Sox a 6-5 lead. The Angels would bounce back to tie, but and already shell shocked Moore would give up another run in the 11th that would win the game for the Sox and send the series back to Boston where the Red Sox beat the Angels in two blowouts to advance to the World Series.
1987: Hurt by the loss of key players to retirement and free agency along with the painful hangover of the ALCS collapse, the Angels fell into a tie for sixth with a woeful 75-87 record in what would prove to be Gene Mauch’s last season as manager.
1988: After a solid start under Manager Cookie Rojas, the Angels would fade in the second half, falling into fourth place when Rojas is fired with a week to go. Under his replacement Moose Stubbing, the Angels would not win any of their remaining eight games, posting a final record of 75-87.
1987-1989: The pain of the ALCS collapse in 1986 was even worse on the player most responsible for it, Donnie Moore, who would return with the Angels in 1987 and became the target of scorn and boos from the Angel fans that had blamed him for the team losing the series. Moore would go on to play only two more seasons with Halos, and along the way, he would only save nine games in 41 relief appearances, while battling injuries that some speculated were not real. Donnie Moore’s injury turned out to be authentic as he needed back surgery. Following the 1988 season, Moore was still let go by the Angels. After being unable to hook on with any other team in Spring Training during 1989, Moore sank deeper into his despair as only received offers to pitch in the minors as the season advance towards the All-Star break. At the same time, Moore’s marriage began to fall apart, and he just could not live with the pain anymore. On July 18, 1989, Donnie Moore shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself. Moore’s wife would survive the gunshot, but he would die instantly. Many players have been goats in dramatic moments in baseball history; a fact remains true for every hero there is usually a goat. The thought of being a goat was too much for Donnie Moore to bear, and it would be a tragic footnote to the California Angels heartbreaking ALCS in 1986.
1989: Overcoming adversity was another story for a rookie pitcher Jim Abbott. Abbott was born with just one hand and would be fighting the odds his entire life. Over the years, Abbot would have to contort himself after delivering a pitch just to field the ball or get the ball from the catcher. It would be too much for the average man, but Abbott was not average and would star at Michigan before helping the US win gold during the 1988 Olympics. Abbott, who was previously the Angels top draft pick, had impressed the team so much in Spring training that he was brought up to the Majors without ever playing a game in the minors. He would go onto win 12 games that first season and would go on to have a solid ten-year career. The Angels would finish the season with a solid 91-71 record good enough for third place.
1990: Before the season, the Angels bolstered their pitching staff by signing high priced lefty free agent Mark Langston. Langston would get off to an impressive start by throwing seven innings in a combined no-hitter with Mike Witt in his first start with the Angels. However, the signing would not work out as the Angels planned, and the team struggled to finish in fourth place with an 80-82 record.
1991: The Angels would struggle with mediocrity again, and would go on to finish in last place. However, at 81-81, the Angels became the first team to finish in the cellar with a .500 or better record.
1992: After a game in New York, the Angels got on a few buses on the way to Baltimore. However, it would not be a routine trip, and when the driver dozed while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, the bus would crash into a tree on the side of the road. Fortunately, none of the players sustained severe injuries. However, the same could not be said for manager Buck Rodgers who would go on to miss 89 games resulting from internal injuries caused by the crash. With John Wathan filling in as manager, the Angels would finish in fifth place with a 72-90.
1993: The Angels continued to struggle, finishing in fifth place while posting a 71-91 record. However, there were some bright spots as Tim Salmon made a spectacular debut with 31 homers and 95 RBI to take home Rookie of the Year honors.
1994: Despite sitting in last place with an awful record of 47-68 on August 12th, the Angels were within five and a half games of first place in an extremely week AL West when the season ended prematurely due to a strike.
1995: After three miserable seasons, the Angels were the surprise of baseball leading the Western Division through much of the season. As July turned into August, the Angels were the hottest team in baseball and were pulling away for the rest of the competition in the West. Adding to the excitement was the re-acquisition of Jim Abbott, who was traded away three years earlier. Fans of the Angels began preparing for the playoffs; even if they were caught for the division, they would have the Wild Card to fall back on. However, a funny thing happened in the final two months; first, Ken Griffey Jr. returned from the Disabled List, and the Seattle Mariners, who were 13 games out, caught fire and began chagrin their way to the Angels. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees began to put it together and began to put the Angels wild card insurance in doubt. With the Halos losing essential series to the Mariners, it had twice the harmful effect since each loss allowed the Yankees to get closer for the Wild Card. As the season entered its final week, it became a battle of three teams for two spots, and with Angels struggling suddenly, fans were not so confident. With the Yankees sweeping their final series of the season suddenly, the Wild Card was out of the equation, as the Angels and Mariners ended in a flat-footed tie a one-game playoff with a 78-66 record for the division title. Unfortunately for the Angels, the game was likely lost when a coin flip determined the game to be played in Seattle. Making matters even worse was the Angels had to face Cy Young winner Randy Johnson, who blanked the Halos 8-0 to give the M’s their first division title and extend the Angels’ legacy of losing the big game.
1996: The Angels would not bother teasing their fans; instead, they just returned to their losing ways finishing in last place with an awful 70-91 record.
1997: Change was in the air for the Angels, as 90-year old Gene Autry who owned the Angels from the beginning sold part of the team to Disney, who gave the Angels a new look re-dubbed the team the Anaheim Angles. Disney also helped pay for renovations to the Angels old ballpark, which ensured Anaheim would have the Angels to cheer for years to come. The move helped to inspire the Angels who rebounded from a wretched season to finish just six games behind the division champion Seattle Mariners with an 84-78 record.
1998: The Angels entered the season with renewed expectations entering a newly renovated Anaheim Stadium, now known as Edison International Field. The old stadium was redone, so completely, it did not even look like the same. With the NFL’s Rams departing for St. Louis, the Angels had the stadium for themselves and chose to make it a more cozy and baseball-only stadium like the new ones that were being built throughout all of baseball. The Angels even would hold a grand reopening, complete with all the ceremonies of a new ballpark, including Gene Autry, who was brought in with an old fashioned Stage Coach. Players and coaches from both the Angels and New York Yankees gathered around the 91-year-old living legend. In the game itself, the Angels would beat the mighty Yankees 4-1. It would not be the last time the Angels would beat the Yankees that season. While the Yankees were setting a new AL record for wins, the Halos would give the Bronx Bombers fits and would be the only team that would beat them for the season series. With this, the Angels were a factor all season for the Western Title losing by just three games to the Texas Rangers, with an 85-77 record. Had the Angels been able to win, they would have faced the Yanks in the division series. Sadly after the season, Gene Autry rode off into the sunset for good after losing his battle with lymphoma.
1999: With the free-agent acquisition of Mo Vaughn Angels, fans were optimistic that their team could get back into the posit-season. In the first game of the season, Mo fell down the dugout steps catching a foul ball and injured his ankle. A few days later, the Angels installed railings on the dugout, but it was too late. Vaughn played through pain most of the season, as the Angels finished in last place with a disappointing 70-92 record.
2000: In a breakout season, 3B Troy Glaus becomes the second Angel to win the Home Run crown by slamming 47 dingers. Also, having a break out season is OF Darin Erstad, who led the Majors with 240 hits. The two would combine the carry the Angels back to respectability with an 82-80 record good enough for third place.
2001: With Mo Vaughn missing the entire season due to an arm injury, and Darin Erstad struggling all season, the Angels suffered all season. However, the Angels’ pitching kept them in the Wild Card race for most of the season before the Angels faded in the final six weeks to finish with a disappointing 75-87 record. Following the season, Mo Vaughn was traded to the New York Mets, ending his disappointing three-year run in Anaheim.
2002: The Angels entered the season with a new look bringing back their famed halo logo with a bright red color scheme. However, the Angels would start the season on the wrong foot getting off to a franchise worse 6-14 start. However, as April wound down, the Angels would begin a remarkable rally as diminutive SS David Eckstein hit Grand Slams in back to back games over the Toronto Blue Jays. It would be the start of a magical run as the Angels won 21-of-24 games to get in the thick of the race for first place. Along the way, the Angels had a habit of late innings rallies as Angels fans got Monkey Fever, as a tiny Monkey led the charge on the Edison Field scoreboard holding signs and jumping up and down with every Angels hit, and run in the late innings. In a tight three-way race for the AL West and Wild Card, the Angels would finish with a franchise-best 99-63 record, missing out on the Western Division, but capturing the Wild Card. In the playoffs for the first time in 16 years, the Angels would face the New York Yankees, who had played in five of the last six World Series, winning four. The Angels would get off to shaky start losing as they blew an eighth Inning lead in Game 1. After making an eighth Inning comeback of their own in Game 2, the Angels found themselves down 6-1 early in Game 3 at Anaheim. However, monkey magic would come and stun the Yankees as the Angels rallied to win the 9-6. Keying the comeback was 20-year old pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, who won got the win for the second straight game shutting down the Yankees while striking out four in just two innings of work. The following day the Angels would erupt for eight runs in the fifth inning to stun the Yankees in four games. Facing the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS, the Angels found themselves in a hole after losing Game 1 pitchers duel. The Angels would rebound once again to take Game 2 as Francisco Rodriguez helped preserve a 6-3 lead. Game 3 would be another pitchers duel as Rodriguez, who only had five career appearances, won his third postseason game earning the new nickname K-Rod. The Angels would grab a 3-1 series lead after blowing open a scoreless tie with seven runs in two innings. The Angels would go on to close out the Twins in Game 5, as Adam Kennedy, who had seven homers in the regular season, had a surprising power surge hitting three Home Runs. The Angels erupted for ten runs in the seventh inning to advance to their first World Series in franchise history with a 13-5 win. Meanwhile, Rodriguez got his fourth postseason win.
2002: Facing the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, the Angels would once again drop Game 1, losing 4-3 at Edison Field. Once again, the Angels would rebound to take Game 2, as Tim Salmon’s two-run Home Run in the eighth inning gave the Angels an 11-10 win, as Francisco Rodriguez got his 5th win in the postseason pitching three perfect innings. After taking Game 3 in San Francisco, the Angels found themselves with their back to the wall as the Giants solved K-Rod in Game 4, and captured Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead back to Anaheim. In Game 6, things would get bleaker as the Angels trailed 5-0 in the seventh inning. Led by Rally Monkey, the Angels would not give up as Scott Spiezio hit a three-run HR in the seventh to get the Angels back in the game. In the eighth, Darin Erstad would get the Angels within one with a leadoff HR. World Series MVP Troy Glaus would cap the rally with a two-run double that gave the Angels a 6-5 win to force Game 7. There would be no need for a rally in Game 7 as the Angels shut down the Giants 4-1 to capture their first World Championship.
2003: Coming off their improbable World Championship, the Angels learned quickly how hard life at the top could be as several key players, including Troy Glaus, were bitten by the injury bug. The Angels hovered around .500 most of the season. Despite the struggles, the Angels would make history as the Disney Cooperation sold them to Arte Moreno for $184 Million, making the team the first in professional sports to have Hispanic Ownership. As the season wore on, it was clear the Angels were not going to return to the playoffs as they fell below .500 at the end of July on the way to finishing in third place with a disappointing record of 77-85. With hopes of rebounding, the Angels would be active in the Free Agency Market following the season signing pitcher Bartolo Colon and Vladimir Guerrero.
2004: The acquisition of Vladimir Guerrero would pay off right away as the Angels new superstar helped the team get off to a solid start at 29-15. However, injuries would weigh heavily on the Halos as Garrett Anderson, Troy Glaus, Bengie Molina, and Tim Salmon all spent lengthy periods on the Disabled List. As the season wore on, the Angels remained in a 3-team race for the AL Western Division Title, thanks to an offense that hit an AL-best .282. Down the stretch, the Angels were in trouble of falling apart when an ugly incident between Jose Guillen and Manager Mike Scioscia led to the Angels’ second-best offensive player being benched for the remainder of the season. However, instead of missing the 101 RBI output of Guillen, Vladimir Guerrero stepped up and carried the team in the ten days of the season. Facing their Western combatants, the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers the Angels won seven of ten with Guerrero hitting six big home runs as the Angels won their first Division Title in 18 years with a record of 92-70. The final week surge would also catapult Vladimir Guerrero to AL MVP honors with 39 homers, 126 RBI, and a .337 average. In the ALDS, the Angels bats were silenced as the Boston Red Sox 1-2 duo of Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. Boston shut down the Angels in the first two games in Anaheim to take a 2-0 series lead. As the series shifted to Boston, the Angels bats came alive as Guerrero hit a game-tying Grand Slam in the seventh inning. It was too little too late as David Ortiz homered in the tenth inning to give the Red Sox an 8-6 win to complete the three-game sweep. Following the season, there would be many changes as Troy Glaus, and Troy Percival both left for big Free Agent money elsewhere, as Jose Guillen was traded to the Washington Nationals.
2005: Coming off their AL Western Championship, the Angels decided to attract a broader fan base by changing their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The City of Anaheim was not amused and filed suit to prevent the name change, but a judge ruled the Angels could use the name Los Angeles even though they played in Anaheim. The Angels had previously been known as the Los Angeles Angels from 1961-1964 when the Dodgers dominated. Since the Angels had become Champions and with players like Vladimir Guerrero, the belief was now that they could compete equally with the Dodgers, who were also not happy with the name change. Coming off an AL West Championship, the Angels had their struggles in April, posting a 13-11 record. As May began, the Angels started to get hot winning their first five games on the way back to back 17-win months; they battled the Oakland Athletics again for Western Supremacy. As September began, the Angels found themselves one game back, as they were facing the A’s in the finale of a three-game series after having split the first two games, thanks to Rookie Ervin Santana who pitched a 3-0 shut out the Angels were able to land in a tie at 75-58. Santana would win four games in September as the Angles again finished strong winning 14 of their last 16 games to win the division by seven games with a 95-67 record. While Santana was magical in the final month, Bartolo Colon was magical all year, posting a 21-8 record, to win the Cy Young. While the offense was led once again by Vladimir Guerrero, who hit 32 homers with 108 RBI and a .317 average in a solid follow up to his previous MVP season. In the playoffs, the Angels were matched up with the New York Yankees when trouble struck right away in Game 1 as they lost 4-2, while Bartolo Colon was lost for the rest of the playoffs with a shoulder injury. Facing an 0-2 hole again, the Angels would bounce back to win Game 2 behind solid relief pitching led by Kelvim Escobar 5-3. As the series shifted to the Bronx on a cold rainy night, the Angels pounded out 19 hits while knocking out Randy Johnson after just three innings on the way to an 11-7 win to take a 2-1 series lead. After Game 4 was initially rained out, the Angels were suddenly facing a bizarre situation after the Yankees even the series with a 3-2 win. The series went back to Anaheim for Game 5 just 24 hours later. With rookie Ervin Santana on the mound, the Yanks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning. However, in the bottom of the inning, the Angels scored three runs thanks to a two-out triple by Adam Kennedy. The Angels would build a 5-2 lead, as they frustrated the Yankees the rest of the night on the way to a 5-3 win to advance to the ALCS. There was no time to celebrate as the Angels had to go to Chicago right away for Game 1 against the White Sox, as it would mark a remarkable three games in three days in three different time zones. Thanks to the pitching of Paul Byrd, the weary Angels would not stumble in their sleep, winning 3-2. Game 2 would be another pitcher’s duel as the score was tied 1-1 in the ninth. The game appeared to be heading to extra innings as AJ Pierzynski struck out to end the inning. However, home plate umpire Doug Eddings ruled Catcher Josh Paul didn’t hold the ball, as Pierzynski ran to first. With the Angels fuming the next batter, Joe Crede doubled in pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna with the winning run. The series would be tied 1-1 heading to Anaheim, where the Angels would unravel as they dropped all three games, with Sox jumping out to 3-0 in the first innings of Game 3 and Game 4.
2006: Coming off two straight division titles, there was no reason to believe the Angels could not continue to reign in the American League West. Before April was even half over, their pitching staff sustained a big blow as Bartolo Colon; the reigning Cy Young winner went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder after an 0-2 start. Colon would end up making just ten appearances going 1-5 with a paltry ERA of 5.11. April would be bad for the Angels as they ended the month at 12-13. However, May was even worse as the entered the month amid a stretch that saw them win just 5 of 23 games as they held a 17-28 record following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Looking for a jump start, the Angels called up Rookie pitcher Jered Weaver, whose brother Jeff was struggling in his first season with the Angels posting a 3-10 record with a 6.29 ERA. Jered had no such struggles as he won his first nine decisions, as a decision was made to release the elder Jeff Weaver in favor of his 23-year-old rookie. Jeff would land on his feet, contributing to a championship run with the St. Louis Cardinals, while Jered established himself as the Angels new ace of the future, posting an 11-2 record with a terrific 2.56 ERA. The call up of Jered Weaver coincide with the Angels turn around as July with 13 wins in 14 games as the Angels climbed back over .500 and into the Western Division race. However, despite a strong August, the Angels found themselves in a hole entering September as they were unable to keep pace with the Oakland Athletics who were going through a 22-5 stretch. None, the less the Angels, would not give up their crown in the West without a fight as they finished the season strong posting a 19-8 record in September, but it was too little too late as they fell four games short of the division title with a record of 89-73.
2007: After falling four games short of the division title, the Angels entered the season poised to regain the top spot in the American League Western Division. After playing a tough early schedule that included road trips against the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, the Angels closed the first month of the season strong winning 9-of-11 games to close the month at 15-11. Over the next two months, the Angels would build a big lead in the AL West as they were the first team in the Majors to reach 50 wins, at 50-31, while Chone Figgins set a team record with 53 hits in a month. Part of the Angels resurgence was the resurgence of Garrett Anderson, who set a team record for 10 RBI in one game as the Angels clobbered the New York Yankees 18-9 on August 21st at Angel Stadium. The 10-RBI performance was not all for Anderson as he set a club record by driving in at least one run in 12 straight games, as he led the majors in RBI in the second half. However, down the stretch, the Angels pitching started to break down, while the division was locked up thanks to a 94-68 record the Angels were limping heading into the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. Making matters worse, Vladimir Guerrero was hurting with a right tricep injury that prevented him from playing in the outfield. In Game 1, the Angels offense was handcuffed by Josh Beckett, who allowed just four hits in a complete game shut out as the Sox took the opener 4-0. In Game 2, the Angels broke out of their slump in the second inning as they scored three runs to take a 3-2 lead. However, the Angels would not score again as the Sox rallied to tie the game. The game would be decided in the ninth as an ineffective Francisco Rodriguez gave up a three-run walk-off home run to Manny Ramirez as the Sox took a 2-0 series lead with a 6-3 win. As the series shifted to Anaheim, the Angels hoped they could rally and come back to win the series. The Angels bats continued to scuffle, as David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez gave the Sox a 2-0 lead with back-to-back homers in the fourth inning. The Angels would not get back into the game as the Red Sox pulled away in the eighth inning to take a 9-0 lead before the Angels finally broke through again with one run in the ninth before losing 9-1 as the Sox completed the sweep.
2008: Heading into the season, the Angels were hampered by injuries as their ace John Lackey started the season on the disabled list. However, the Angels demonstrated early they were a solid team well-schooled in the fundamentals, as they spent much of April at or near the top of the Western Division. As May rolled around, the Angels started to get healthy and started to get some distance from the rest of their division rivals as they took over first place for good on May 13th. One thing helping to spur the Angels was the reliable relief of closer Francisco Rodriguez, as he had 21 saves before Memorial Day. Rodriguez continued his record pace through the All-Star Break, as the Angels ended the first half with a 57-38 record, with K-Rod recording 38 saves. Coming out of the break, the Angels played some of their best baseball sweeping the Boston Red Sox twice during two weeks, as they built their lead in the American League West to double digits. At the trade deadline, the Angels began to focus on the postseason and getting even stronger as they acquired Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves for Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Mark. Teixeira made the Angels one of the strongest line ups in the American League as he hit .358 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 54 games with the Halos. Meanwhile, Francisco Rodriguez continued his pursuit of Bobby Thigpen’s single-season saves record of 57. On September 10th Rodriguez would earn his 56th save as the Angels clinched their fourth division title in five years, with a 4-2 win over the New York Yankees. Three days later, K-Rod would break the record during a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. He would finish the season with an incredible 62 saves, as the Angels won 100 games for the first time in franchise history, posting a record of 100-62 while winning the division by 21 games. In the ALDS, the Angels faced the Boston Red Sox again. During the regular season, the Angels handled the Red Sox well, winning eight of nine. In Game 1, it was a repeat of their struggles from 2007, as they were handcuffed by John Lackey losing the opener in Anaheim 4-1. In Game 2, the Sox continued to bash the Angels as they jumped on Ervin Santana for four runs in the first inning. The Angels would claw their way back into the game, tying it 5-5 in the eighth inning on a sac fly by Mark Teixeira. However, the reliable Francisco Rodriguez faltered in the ninth, as he gave up a game-winning two-run homer to J.D. Drew as the Sox took a 2-0 series lead with a 7-5 win. In Game 3, at Fenway Park, the Angels faced the prospect of another sweep as they trailed 3-1 after two innings. The Angels would fight back again, as the game went into extra innings tied 4-4. The Angels would get reliable relief as five relievers allowed just two hits in seven and third innings before Erik Aybar singled home Mike Napoli with the winning run in the 12th inning. In Game 4, the Angels were handcuffed by Jon Lester again, as they saw their season slipping away down 2-0 after seven innings before they tied the game on a two-out RBI single by Torii Hunter. In the end, the Red Sox would prove to be too tough as Jed Lowrie ripped an RBI single to give the Sox a 3-2 walk-off win to close their series out in four games. Following the season, the Angels would get the New York blues as they saw Francisco Rodriguez sign with the Mets, while Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees.
2009: To help alleviate the loss of Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Teixeria, the Angels signed Brian Fuentes and Bobby Abreu. Early on in the season, the Angels suffered an emotional loss as a drunk driver killed rookie Pitcher Nick Adenhart in the early morning hours of April 9th. Adenhart, just hours earlier, pitched well enough to earn his first win. In the ninth year, Brian Fuentes gave up three runs as the Oakland Athletics rallied for a 6-4 win. The blown save by Fuentes was a big part of early struggles for the Angels who spent the first two months hovering around the .500 mark. As June arrived, the Angels began to find their game as they posted a 17-9 record, highlighted by a seven-game winning streak to grab the American League Western Division lead. One player leading the Angels resurgence was Kendry Morales, who took over at 1B for Teixeira and had a breakout season, leading the team with 34 home runs and 108 RBI. The Angels would continue to heat up in July as they posted a 19-7 record, as they won 12 out of 13 games around the All-Star Break highlighted by a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees in Anaheim. The winning streak would give the Halos control of the West, which they would never relinquish as they won their third straight division title with a record of 97-65. Helping down the stretch was Scott Kazmir, who the Angels acquired in a waiver deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for two minor leaguers and Sean Rodriguez. The Angels would face the Boston Red Sox once again in the ALDS. Led by the pitching of John Lackey and a three-run home run from Torii Hunter, the Angels, got an early jump on the Sox, winning the opener 5-0. In Game 2, it would be Jered Weaver who would shut down the Red Sox, as the Angels used an Erick Aybar triple to grab a 2-0 series lead with a 4-1 win. As the series shifted to Fenway Park, the Red Sox found their offense jumping out to an early 5-1 lead in Game 3. However, the Angels slowly pecked away and took the lead on doubles by Bobby Abreu and Vladimir Guerrero in the ninth Inning off Sox Closer Jonathan Papelbon. With Brian Fuentes retiring the side in order, the Angels would complete the sweep with a 7-6 win. In the ALCS against the New York Yankees, the Angels got off to a rough start as they were unable to solve Yankees ace CC Sabathia who won the opener 4-1. The Angels appeared to be on the way to evening the series with a 3-2 lead in the 11th inning. However, Brian Fuentes gave up a game-tying home run to Alex Rodriguez, as the Yanks won 4-3 in 13 innings on Maicer Izturis throwing error. In Game 3, after trailing 3-0 in the early going, the Angels used a two-run home run by Vladimir Guerrero in the 6th to tie the game. The Angels would go on to win 5-4 in 11 innings as a Jeff Mathis drove in Kowie Kendrick with a double. Game 4 was more CC Sabathia, as the Yankees battered Scott Kazmir for a 10-1 win to take a 3-1 series lead. The Angels would respond with a 7-6 win in Game 5 to send the series back to the Bronx. A solid performance from Andy Pettitte in Game 6 led the Yankees to a 5-2 win, which would send them to the World Series. Following the season, the Angels would be forced to make more changes as Chone Figgins signed with the Seattle Mariners and John Lackey signed with the Boston Red Sox. At the same time, the team decided to replace DH Vladimir Guerrero with Hideki Matsui, who was coming off an MVP performance for the Yankees in the World Series. To help make up for the loss of Lackey, the Angels signed Joel Pineiro.
2010: With several key players leaving, the Angels had their work cut out for them as they looked to get back to the ALCS. Through the first two months, the Angels played mediocre baseball, posting a 26-27 record. However, nobody in the American League West had a particularly strong first two months, as they were just two and a half games out of first entering June. The month of June would see the Angels blossom as they posted an 18-9 record. The strong month came despite the loss of Kendrys Morales, who broke his leg celebrating a walk-off grand slam against the Seattle Mariners on May 29th. Morales, who hit 34 home runs with 108 RBI in 2009, was off to a strong start hitting 11 home runs with 39 RBI in 51 games. Despite the strong month, the Halos lost ground to the Texas Rangers during June, as they were four and a half games behind the West leaders entering July. The month of July would be a tough month for the Angels, as they began to feel the loss of their cleanup hitter as they posted a 9-17 record. The only bright spot was the 2010 All-Star Game, which was in Anaheim for the first time since 1989. The National League would win the game 3-1, ending a 13-game winless streak. The Angels continued to fade out of the race in August as they posted a record of 11-16, despite the acquisition of Dan Haren who helped them strengthen their rotation. The Angels, who picked up Haren in a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Joe Saunders and Rafael Rodriguez, and a pair of prospects also attempted to land 1B Derek Lee from the Chicago Cubs. However, Lee refused to waive his no-trade clause to go to Anaheim. The Angels would end up finishing the season in third place, with a disappointing record of 80-82.
2011: It was a year of celebration in Anaheim, as the Los Angeles Angels celebrated their 50th Anniversary. Throughout the season, the Angels wore throwbacks from all era of Angel baseball from, the early LA days at Chavez Ravine, to the little a days, and the big A days, up until the 1990s. Before the season even started, the Angels got some bad news: Kendrys Morales, who injured his leg jumping on home plate after a walk-off home run in 2010, needs more surgery that would cost him to miss the enter season. After starting the season by losing three of their first four games to the Kansas City Royals, Manage Mike Scioscia shook up the bullpen by demoting Fernando Rodney from the closer’s role and giving Jordan Walden, pitching his first full season in the majors the closer title. Angels suffered a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in their home opener after sweeping a brief two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The next day they began to turn things around with a thrilling 6-5 win in 14 innings. The Angels would have their up and downs in April, such as a four-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox at Anaheim, but with a 15-12 record, they entered May just a game out of first place. Over the next six weeks, the Angels struggled, dropping six games behind the first-place Texas Rangers, holding a 30-35 mark on June 10th. However, as summer arrived, the Angels started to find their stride as they won 12 of their last 17 games in June, and stayed hot up until the All-Star Break as they pulled back within one game with a record of 50-42. Sadly for the Halos, they would not get any closer as the Rangers kept them at arm’s length up until a critical series in August, that the Rangers would win three of four in Anaheim. Among the highlights in the summer, was a July 27th No-Hitter by Ervin Santana in which the Angels earned a 3-1 win on the road against the Cleveland Indians. While the Halos stayed close up until the end of the season, they never were able to get that crucial win when they needed it as they finished the year in second place with a record of 86-76. Following the season, the Angels looked to reclaim their spot as the best in the West. They made two big splashes on the free agency market place, as they signed C.J. Wilson, one of the top starters from the Texas Rangers and Albert Pujols, the best player in baseball over the last decade. Wilson’s contract was for six years, at $77 million, while Pujols was signed for ten years at $250 million.
2012: Expectations in Anaheim were high after the signing of Albert Pujols. Early on, Pujols appeared to be pressing as he struggled at the start of the season as the Angels spent most of April in last place, as they won just six of their first 20 games. Albert Pujols finished his first month with the Halos with no home runs and only four RBI and a terrible .217 average. During the Angels awful April, there was one player who proved to be reliable every five days, and that was ace Jered Weaver, who had the best season of his career posting a 20-5 record, with a 2.81 ERA as he finished third in Cy Young voting. The highlight of Weaver’s season came on May 2nd when he pitched a No-Hitter as the Angels blanked the Minnesota Twins 9-0. Around the same time, the Angels recalled Mike Trout to replace the struggling Bobby Abreau. Trout provided an instant spark for the Angels, who quickly got back to .500 by posting an 18-11 record in May. Trout would put up monster numbers right away as he was in serious discussion to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. The Angels got back in playoff position, as he became the first player in MLB history to hit 30 homers, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in one season. Mike Trout would finish the season with 30 homers, 49 stolen bases, 129 runs scored, 83 RBI, as he had an average of .326 and was named the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year while placing second to Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera in the MVP vote. The arrival of Mike Trout also seemed to take the pressure off Albert Pujols, who recovered from his slow start to have a solid season with 30 home runs, 105 RBI and an average of .283. However, the Angels would not stay in playoff position long, as the Oakland Athletics passed them in the Western Division race and the battle for the two Wild Card spots in the American League, as the Halos played .500 ball during July and August. Down the stretch, the Angels played well, posting an 18-9 record in September. However, it would not be enough as they fell short of making the playoffs with a record of 89-73. Following the season, the Angels made their lineup even stronger as they signed slugger Josh Hamilton from the Texas Rangers to a 5-year contract, worth $125 million.
2013: After falling short of the playoffs, the Angels looked to add more power to their lineup and signed former MVP Josh Hamilton to a five-year contract, worth $125 million. The Angels made history on Opening Day, becoming the first American League team to play the Cincinnati Reds. In their traditional opening day celebration as interleague play expanded to an everyday occurrence with the Houston Astros joining the American League West. The Angels would win the game 3-1 in 13 innings on a two-run single by catcher Chris Iannetta. Wins would be hard to come by early in the season as the Halos dropped eight of their first ten games, as Hamilton, much like Albert Pujols a season earlier, struggled early to live up to the big contract. Injuries took an early toll as opening day starter Jered Weaver was lost for two months when he was struck on his non-pitching elbow by a line drive off the bat of Mitch Moreland of the Texas Rangers on April 7th. Weaver would be limited to an 11-8 record, making 24 starts, while posting an ERA of 3.27. By the time April was finished, the Angels were in a deep hole, holding a record of 9-17 as they sat in fourth place and were already eight games behind the division leaders. The Angels tried to claw their way back by posting winning records in May and June, but a 9-15 July put an end to their postseason hopes. One of the only bright spots for the Angels was Mike Trout, who finished second in American League MVP voting again, as he hit 27 home runs with 97 RBI while batting .323 as he led the AL with 109 runs scored. Most of the team’s power was supplied by Mark Trumbo, who led the team with 34 homers and 100 RBI, as Josh Hamilton had a strong second half, finishing the year with 21 homers, 79 RBI, and a .250 batting average. In his second season in Anaheim, Albert Pujols had more frustration as he endured the worst season of his career with 17 homers and 65 RBI while missing most of the last two months with a knee injury. C.J. Wilson was the Angels bright spot on the mound as he led the team with a 17-7 record and a 3.39 ERA, while Joe Blanton had a nightmare season, posting a record of 2-14 record and a 6.04 ERA. The Angels would finish the season with a record of 78-84, finishing third in the Western Division, as they never were a factor in the Wild Card chase.
2014: Coming off a disappointing season, the Angels looked to rebound and return to the postseason. The season would get off to a rocky start as they were swept at home by the Seattle Mariners. Albert Pujols, who had been plagued by injuries in 2013, showed early that he had found his swing, becoming the youngest player in baseball history with 500 career home runs, taking Taylor Jordan deep on April 22nd in a 7-2 road win against the Washington Nationals. Pujols would finish the season with 28 home runs and 105 RBI. Another Angel having a bounce-back season was Jered Weaver, who led the team with 18 wins. Meanwhile, Mike Trout had arrived fully as the best player in baseball, winning the All-Star Game MVP, helping the American League win 5-3 in Minneapolis with He went 2 for 3, with a double, a triple, and two RBI. Trout was the youngest All-Star MVP in MLB history; it would not be the only hardware Mike Trout would take home in 2014. Mike Trout who finished second in MVP voting in each of his first two seasons, would finally win the award by a unanimous vote batting .287, with 36 home runs, 39 doubles, nine triples, a league-leading 111 RBI, 16 stolen bases and scored an MLB best 115 runs scored. The Angels played well through the first half of the season, but sat just behind the Oakland Athletics, holding a 57-37 record, which had them strongly in playoff position. The Angels would finally take over first place in the American League West on August 16th with a 5-4 win over the Texas Rangers. As August came to an end, the Halos began to pull away from the Oakland A’s sweep a series in Anaheim to begin September with a five-game lead. The Angels would lose a brief two-game road series with the Houston Astros to start the season’s final month, but quickly embarked on a ten-game winning streak to seal the division championship the Angels would go on to post a record of 98-64, the best record in all the major leagues, despite ending the season by losing their final three games to the Seattle Mariners on the road.
2014 ALDS: In the American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, the Los Angeles Angels were heavy favorites. However, right from the start, things would not go according to plan, as the Royals won the opener 3-2 in 11 innings on a home run by Mike Moustakas. Game 2 would be an instant replay as the Royals again won in 11 innings, 4-1 this time thanks to a home run by Eric Hosmer. Through the first two games of the series, Mike Trout was hitless in eight at-bats. As the series moved to Kansas City for Game 3, Trout finally broke out with a home run in the top of the first inning. However, the Royals answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning and won the game 8-1 to complete the three-game sweep.
2015: Coming off a year in which they had the best record in baseball but failed to win a game in the postseason, the Los Angeles Angels were hoping to remain on top of the American League West. At the same time, the Halos were forced to deal with the Josh Hamilton situation, as the former All-Star, who was expected to miss the first two months of the season with a shoulder injury, had a relapse in his struggle with addiction. Major League Baseball would not discipline Hamilton, but in the third year of a five year deal worth $125 million, the Angels had hoped a suspension would alleviate them from his contract. As it turned out, Josh Hamilton would not take the field again with the Angels as he was traded back to the Texas Rangers on April 27th for cash or a player to be named later. For much of the first half, the Angels hovered near .500. One issue the Angels had was consistent hitting. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols again had strong seasons. Mike Trout leads the team with 41 home runs, 90 RBI and a .299 average, while also becoming the first player ever to win two straight All-Star Game MVP awards. Meanwhile, Pujols had 40 homers with a team-high 99 RBI, despite a career-low .244 batting average. The Angels bottom of the order was particularly weak as Catcher Chris Iannetta had a terrible season, batting .188 with just ten homers and 34 RBI. That was not the worst regular in the Halos lineup as Matt Joyce batted .174, playing 93 games after replacing Josh Hamilton in Leftfield. Things were not much better on the mound, as Jered Weaver had a disappointing season posting a record of 7-12 with a record of 4.64. Despite the struggles, the Angels made a push for first place in July, taking over the top spot in the West on the last day before the All-Star Break. The Angels would not maintain their lead as they faded out of the race in August, posting a record of 10-19. One thing that was particularly frustrating for the Angels was their interleague struggles against the Los Angeles Dodgers as they lost five of six to their rivals in the Freeway Series. Much like they did in the first half, the Angels would make a late push in September as they posted a record of 18-9, but it was too little too late as they finished in third place with a record of 85-77.
2016: After narrowly missing out on a Wild Card berth, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim entered the season looking to get back to the top of the American League West. Things would get off to a rocky start for the Halos as they began the year with an interleague series against the Chicago Cubs in Anaheim. The Angels would drop both games by a combined score of 15-1. The Angels would lose four of their first five games and spent all of April playing catch up as they closed the month with a record of 11-13. The Angels would get off to a similarly bad start in May, as they lost six of their first eight games. They would play better as the month moved along, taking three of four games, during a home-and-home series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After ending May with a record of 24-28, the Angels started slowly in June, losing 10-of-their first-13 games, and began falling hopelessly out of playoff contention. There would be no recovery this time around, as the Halos ended June, losing 10-of-11 games. After holding a 37-52 record at the All-Star Break, the Angels finally appeared to find their game at the start of the second half as they had a perfect 6-0 homestand, sweeping series against the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. The reprieve was short-lived as the Angels were swept by the Houston Astros when they went on the road. As August began, what little hope the Angels had for making the playoffs vanished as they endured an 11-game losing streak. The Angels would finish the season with a disappointing record of 74-88, finishing fourth in the American League West, which was the worst season since Mike Scioscia became manager in 2000. Pitching was a big reason for the Angels’ woes, as their 4.28 ERA was third-worst in the American League. The Angels only consistent pitcher was Hector Santiago, who held a record of 10-4, with a 4.25 ERA before being dealt to the Minnesota Twins at the deadline for Ricky Nolasco. The Halos bullpen was especially bad, as they recorded just 29 total saves, with Closer Huston Street struggling with an ERA of 6.45, with only nine saves. Albert Pujols would not disappoint fans in Anaheim as he had another big season, leading the Angels with 31 home runs and 119 RBI. Meanwhile, Mike Trout continued to show he is the best player in baseball as he won the American League MVP for the second time in three seasons, batting .315, with 29 home runs, and 100 RBI, as he led MLB with walks (116), runs scored (123), and on-base percentage (.441).
2017: Coming off a disappointing season, the Los Angeles Angels looked to rebound and get back in playoff contention. Over the first two months of the season, the Angeles had their ups and downs and sat with a 28-28 record at the end of May. Coming off a second MVP season, Mike Trout was again off to a great start, batting .337 with 17 home runs. As May came to an end, Trout suffered a thumb injury sliding into second base in a game against the Miami Marlins on May 28th. The injury would cause the Angels All-Star to miss the next weeks, including the All-Star Game. During Mike Trout???? absence, the Angels managed to thread water staying close to the .500 mark. The Halos were in the race for the Wild Card while the Houston Astros pulled away in the race for the American League West. After returning, Trout went on to have another big season, batting .302 with a team-best 33 home runs and 72 RBI, despite playing a career-low 114 games. While Trout was continuing to add to his Hall of Fame resume, Albert Pujols was achieving new milestones, on June 3rd, he hit the 600th home run of his career in a 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. The home run was a grand slam off Ervin Santana, marking the first time someone reached the milestone with a Grand Slam. After struggling in July, the Halos made a serious run at the Wild Card in August, winning 18 games. Looking to get the extra bat they needed, the Angels acquired Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers on August 31st. Upton hit seven home runs in September, but the Angels were unable to hold on in the Wild Card hunt. The Halos finished the year with a record of 80-82, five games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card spot. The Angels’ plight once again came on the mound, as they had trouble finding reliable pitching. However, Park Bidwell proved to be a valuable pick-up, posting a record of 10-3 after being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on April 17th.
2018: The Los Angeles Angels entered the season with high expectations. In the offseason, the Halos signed Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, added All-Star Zack Cozart, and traded for four-time All-Star Ian Kinsler. The team started the season strong as they won 13 of their first 16 games. However, the Angels began to stumble as they held a record of 16-12 at the end of April. Ohtani made an immediate impact as he recorded his first major league debut on Opening Day and a few days later hit his first home run against the Cleveland Indians. On April 6th, he became the first Angels rookie to hit home runs in three straight games. Shohei Ohtani made his debut on the mound on April 1st against the Oakland Athletics, striking out six batters in six innings while allowing three runs to pick up his first career win 7-4. In May, the Angels took a step back, posting a 14-15 record to lower their season mark to 30-27. The month’s biggest highlight came on May 26th when Mike Trout went 5-for-5 against the New York Yankees with three doubles and a home run in an 11-4 win. The Halos also struggled again in June and July, posting losing records in both months. As a result, Mike Trout was the teams’ lone representative at the All-Star game in Washington. At the July trade deadline, the Angels traded Kinsler to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez. They also traded catcher Martin Maldonado to the Houston Astros for Patrick Sandoval. The wheels continued to fall off in August as the Angels posted a 12-15 record. As they entered September, the Halos were out of the race at 66-69. On September 7th, the Angels got terrible news as Shohei Ohtani needed Tommy John surgery after an MRI showed damage to his UCL. Two days later, Trout underwent a Cryoablation procedure to address a neuroma in his right foot ending his season. The Angels went onto finish the year just below .500 at 80-82. Trout finished the season batting .312 with 101 runs scored, 39 home runs, 79 RBI, and 24 stolen bases to finish as an MVP finalist. Despite missing the final month, Shohei Ohtani won the American League Rookie of the Year Award after batting .285 with 22 home runs, ten stolen bases, and 61 RBI. While pitching Ohtani had a 4–2 record with a 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 63 strikeouts. It would be an end of an era in Anaheim as Mike Scioscia, who managed the Angels since 2000 and won the 2002 World Series retired. In 19 seasons at the helm, Scioscia posted a record of 1650-1428.
Written by Aaron Gershon
2019: Looking to rebound after a disappointing season, the Los Angeles Angels bolstered their pitching staff by adding former All-Star Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill on one-year deals. The team also upgraded at catcher with the signing of Jonathan Lucroy to a one-year deal. The team also assured Mike Trout would not be going anywhere as in March they inked him to a record 12-year, $426 million contract extension. The contract became the richest contract in the history of North American sports. It was also the beginning of a new era for the Halos as Brad Ausmus. After the busy offseason, the Angels struggled on the field out of the gates. The team went 13-17 in their first 30 games. The Angels began to improve in May and June, posting winning records in both months to enter July at 42-43. Two Angels were named All-Stars for their first-half efforts as Mike Trout drew the start in centerfield while infielder Tommy La Stella was added as a reserve. On July 1st, tragedy hit the Angels again as starting pitcher, Tyler Skaggs died suddenly in his hotel room while the Angels were in Texas for a series against the Rangers. Skaggs had pitched two days earlier, a 4-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics to hold a record of 7-7. After a day off to mourn, the Angels defeated the Rangers 9-4 on July 2nd. The team honored Skaggs further on July 12th when they returned to Angels Stadium for the first time since his death following the All-Star Game. Each player wore his number 45 and name on the back of their uniform, and a ceremony was held before the game. On the field, his presence was felt as the Halos defeated the Seattle Mariners 13-0 behind a combined no-hitter from Taylor Cole and Felix Pena. The Angels entered August with their wild card hopes still alive at 56-54 but would be unable to stay in the race much longer. Los Angeles suffered a season-long eight-game losing streak to open the month and finished August 9-18 dipping their overall record to 65-72. Late in the season, troubling news surrounding the death of Tyler Skaggs created a cloud over the Angels. An autopsy determined that Skaggs had opioids in his system, opioids that were given to him by a club employee. The Halos would win just seven games in September, finishing the year with a record of 72-90 in fourth place in the American League West. Despite the Angels’ poor season, Mike Trout earned his third career MVP Award as he finished the year with a 1.083 OPS with 45 home runs, 104 RBI, and 11 stolen bases.
Written by Aaron Gershon
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Page created on July 14, 2001. Last updated on June 8, 2020, at 11:50 pm ET.