Saturday, September 14, 2013
It's Not Over Until The Math Sings
This week, I was listening to my favorite local sports talk radio show in Southern California, The Travis Rogers Show, and I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
My home county and favorite Major League Baseball team, The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-Disneyland Adjacent, as of Friday morning were 9-1/2 games out of the final wild card playoff spot with 16 games to play. That means that we have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, right? That means we still have a chance of making the playoffs, right?
Yet here was host Travis Rogers and guest Angel Pitcher CJ Wilson talking about how the players are working for earning spots on the team for NEXT YEAR, playing spoiler to teams in the playoff hunt, talking about this year as if it is a forgone conclusion that it's over.
Now I will concede that it is going to be nearly impossible for The Angels to get into the playoffs at this point. They will have to leapfrog over four teams in about two weeks: The Yankees, Rays, Royals, and Indians. That is a very difficult thing to do.
So, for laughs, I looked at the schedules (taking into account that the teams will be playing against each other along the way sometimes) and did the math and it could still happen as long as the four aforementioned teams have a catastrophic collapse down the stretch and the Angels are near perfect for the next two weeks.
The Angels have been quietly (until last night's loss to Houston) been playing really good baseball over the past month. They have won 15 out of 20 and they are getting great performances out of guys that were not contributing earlier in the season.
Josh Hamilton is playing and putting up Josh Hamilton-like numbers now, Mark Trumbo is hitting lights out again, Howie Kendrick is back off the DL and picked up as if he had never been hurt and the starting pitching is going deep into games and relief pitching is actually getting the job done. And you can't say enough about the play of the young players. Not to mention that Mike Trout has been consistently great all season and is challenging for league MVP.
In other words, right now, the Angels are playing like we expected them to play before the season started.
Call me naive, but I never give up on my teams until it is actually mathematically over with.
If anything, we baseball fans in Southern California should know this. This season, the team up the 5 Freeway, The Dodgers, were at one time in last place as late as June, 9-1/2 back and they totally turned their season around and are now running away with the Western Division and challenging for the best record in baseball with the Atlanta Braves.
And in 2002, the Angels actually had the worst start in franchise history and were left for dead but they came all the way back to sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card team and went on a run to win the World Series.
I know what I am hoping for is going to be near impossible. But it's fun to dream isn't it?
Kind of like buying a lottery ticket.