Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Concern was warranted, recklessness was considered, and in the end, there was a sense that it was all for naught. The Angels’ plans to play autumn baseball with Shohei Ohtani are turning out to be delusional.

The Angels snapped a seven-game losing streak with a narrow 7-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California, on 9 September. They are now 57-58 on the season.

This will likely be Ohtani’s last season with the Angels. Ohtani is eligible for free agency at the end of this season. For Ohtani, who has a strong desire to “win” and “win big,” staying with the Angels is not an option.스포츠토토The Angels needed to build a squad that would satisfy Ohtani, and this year was another failure. They were better than previous seasons, but not at a level to contend for the postseason. Ohtani did not play a single game of autumn baseball in an Angels uniform.

When the trade deadline rolled around this year, the Angels eventually tried to sell him. If they didn’t get an extension, they could pick up a package of prospects on the trade market and start a major rebuild. This was after the All-Star break.

But then a miracle happened for the Angels. From 18 July to 1 August, the Angels went a phenomenal 10-3 in 13 games, surpassing the five-game winning percentage. At 56-51, they were 4.5 games back of division-leading Texas and three games back of third-place Toronto for the wild card. The Angels were understandably troubled. It was a risk, a gamble, but the Angels put everything on the line for a slim chance at fall ball. They chose to go with Ohtani and acquired starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and bullpen arm Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox. The batting order was also bolstered with Randal Grichuk and CJ Cron to back up Ohtani at the plate.

But the price for choosing to sprint was devastating. The Angels’ gamble paid off. They opted to make a big splash at the trade deadline and have since lost seven in a row. Their 3-2 loss to San Francisco on 8 August, in which they surrendered six runs in the top of the ninth inning to fall to 3-8, was perhaps the first indication that the Angels’ season is over.

According to Fangraphs’ playoff odds, the Angels had a 14.8 per cent chance of making the playoffs on the second day of the trade deadline. The Angels gambled on those odds. But after seven straight losses, the odds plummeted to 1.7 per cent. At 57 wins and 58 losses, their five-game winning percentage has collapsed, leaving them 11.5 games behind division leader Texas and seven games behind third-place Toronto for the wild card.

The Angels are now paying a steep price for their choices. They gave up a slew of prospects and their chances of signing Ohtani to an extension are as slim as their autumn baseball odds. As MLB.com put it, “The Angels’ seven-game losing streak has come at the worst possible time. By keeping Shohei Ohtani and adding short-term talent, the Angels have made it clear that 2023 is their priority as farm system prospects exit the system,” and “The Angels face their toughest schedule yet.

The Angels will face a series of teams with a winning percentage of .500 or better and a strong chance of making fall ball, including Baltimore (3 games), Tampa Bay (6 games), Texas (6 games), Houston (3 games), Philadelphia (3 games), and San Francisco (1 game). Even against the easier teams, such as Oakland (6 games), Detroit (3 games), New York Mets (3 games), and Cleveland (4 games), the Angels are not guaranteed to win at their current strength.

In 21 games, Ohtani is 9-5 with a 3.32 ERA (46 earned runs in 124⅔ innings), 160 strikeouts, a .423 batting average (130-for-423), 40 home runs, 83 RBIs, 16 doubles, and a 1.078 OPS, and he’s on pace for another historic two-hit season. But even a one-man show from Ohtani won’t change that. The Angels are in danger of repeating history.

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