2015 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2015 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim / Franchise: Los Angeles Angels / BR Team Page
Managed by Mike Scioscia
The 2015 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim entered the season as favorites to win the AL West title, following their strong performance in 2014. They were in fact in first place in the division on April 17th, but with a record of 5-5, and then fell back as the surprising Houston Astros went on a tear and built a lead that reached 7 games on May 4th. The Angels were struggling below .500 at that point, and were unable to build much momentum, as they were still 5 games back after a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on June 26th which left them at 37-37. That's when they suddenly got hot, however, as they won 11 of their final 14 games before the All-Star break, to make up all the ground they had lost and end the first half in first place with a half-game lead over Houston. It helped that the Astros finished the first half with six straight losses, but the Angels had also played well, including winning three straight games in which they scored 10 or more runs from July 4-7th.
Key to the Angels good first half performance was a renaissance by slugging first baseman Albert Pujols, who had largely been a disappointment since signing a big free agent contract with the team before the 2012 season. He made the All-Star team for the first time since switching leagues and ended the first half tied for the American League home run lead with the team's other All-Star, Mike Trout, as both had hit 26 long balls. Trout's strong performance was no surprise, though, as he was the defending AL MVP. A third All-Star was added when P Hector Santiago was a last-minute addition to the AL roster. The huge contribution by the duo of power-hitting superstars made fans forget a couple of soap opera moments in the first half, the first being the saga of OF Josh Hamilton, who relapsed over substance abuse problems over the off-season after ending 2014 in a bad slump. He was unavailable to start the season, and owner Arte Moreno made it known that he felt personally betrayed by his relapse into drug problems and would not be welcomed back on the team. This forced the Angels to sell him to the Texas Rangers in order to get his huge contract off their hands. Then on June 1st, a power struggle between manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Jerry Dipoto came to a head, with Dipoto tendering his resignation, feeling he did not have the margin of maneuver needed to steer the club in the direction he wanted. He was replaced on an interim basis by former GM Bill Stoneman.
The Angels made a late push for the playoffs, but ended a game behind the Astros for the final wild card slot, losing to the Rangers, 9-2 on the final day of the season, October 4th. That day, they also announced the hiring of former New York Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler as their new GM.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Albert Pujols, Hector Santiago and Mike Trout
- AL Gold Glove: Kole Calhoun (RF)
- AL Silver Slugger Award Winner: Mike Trout (OF)
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "In dealing Josh Hamilton, Angels will close an odd, expensive chapter", USA Today Sports, April 27, 2015.