For the first time after a four-year drought, the Los Angeles Angels are going to be in the postseason, beating the Seattle Mariners 8-1 to be the first team in MLB to clinch a playoff spot while being very close to clinching the AL West, which hasn’t happened since their last postseason visit.
Coming away with an impressive win on the first game of four in their series against the Mariners, the Angels improved to 94-56, the best record in Baseball. They’re 10.5 games ahead of the Oakland Athletics, with 12 games left before the season is over. Obviously, there’s a long way to go before actually winning the American League pennant, something the Angels have been able to do just once (2002), but they’ll be in the perfect position to do so.
The loss takes the Mariners further away from the postseason, which they can only reach through the Wild Card. They’re three games behind the Athletics in the division and two games behind the Royals, who are fighting with the Tigers for supremacy in the AL Central. By the time this four-game series against the league leaders is over, the Mariners might not have much left of their playoff hopes, despite pulling off their best season since at least 2009, and are on pace to make it their best since 2007. They haven’t been to the postseason since 2001.
The Angels? They’re on pace to have the best season in franchise history and surpass 100 wins for only the second time. They won over 90 games in six of the eight season during their “golden era” of 2002 to 2009. After marking something of a low by winning just 78 games last season, their worst since 2003, all the money spent on big hitters has finally proved itself to be more than worthy.
This win came with just one home run, as David Freese hit his ninth of the season, but that already made it 5-0 in their favor. The Mariners held on for three innings before things began to unravel and collapse as an Albert Pujols double turned into a triple-RBI hit, reaching 97 RBIs this season, coming with two batters already out.
Matt Shoemaker picked up the win (his 16th of the season) after 7.2 innings in which he gave up just five hits and one run while striking out five batters, not walking a single one. The Angles lead baseball in runs and are in the top five in batting average, on base percentage and slugging. They also have the 7th best WHIP and are 4th when it comes to allowed batting average. Not a championship team yet, but certainly they’re made of the right material.