What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I'm a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2013 title for all 30 teams.
You could say the 2013 season was…heavenly for the Los Angeles Angels. Regardless of whether or not you're a fan of overly simple puns, it certainly was a year to be remembered for the Halos.
The Angels came into the 2013 season with monster expectations. The addition of Josh Hamilton to a lineup that already included the likes of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout will do that to you. By all accounts, those expectations were met. And then some.
Even before the addition of Hamilton, there was no doubting the capabilities of this Anaheim offense. His first season was a surprising success, mainly due to the fact that he managed to play in 150 games. But while his numbers were solid, despite a drop in power (only 28 home runs), it was the season of Albert Pujols that was most memorable. Pujols took home his fourth MVP award, finishing with 42 home runs and an OPS over 1.000.
As for Mike Trout, he shook off a poor April in which he flirted with the Mendoza Line before returning to form and falling just short of a 30/30 season. Mark Trumbo rebounded from his putrid second half last season to post a serviceable .277 average and swat 35 home runs. That pop in a lineup that led the league in home runs, as well as finishing in the top five in batting average and steals, made life much easier for a club that played middle-of-the-road defense.
The true success of this team, however, rested with the pitching staff. And they came through in a big way. Jered Weaver finished second to division rival Felix Hernandez in the Cy Young race, while C.J. Wilson and Tommy Hanson combined to give the Angels the most dominant 1-2-3 punch in baseball. The bullpen rebounded from an inconsistent 2012 season and was fabulous in 2013. The Halos finished fourth in the league in bullpen ERA and Ryan Madson set himself up nicely for a long term contract with 44 saves and an ERA barely over two.
The regular season was every bit the success that most would have predicted. The Halos led the league with 101 wins, but nearly stumbled in the first round of the postseason. Down three games to two in the ALDS to the surprise Chicago White Sox, it took a walkoff home run from Pujols to force a fifth game, which the Angels ran away with. They then promptly swept the Tampa Bay Rays out in the ALCS before squaring off with the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Freeway World Series.
In a battle of massive payrolls, the Angels quickly took a 2-0 lead in the series off of masterful performances from Weaver and Wilson to open things up. But a Tommy Hanson implosion, followed by Jason Vargas allowing five runs in only four innings of work in Game 4 evened things up. The Halos would turn it on after that, though, and take the next two games in the series. Led by World Series MVP Mike Trout (four home runs, nine steals, and a .525 average), they won the decisive Game 6 by a 9-2 score, with Wilson getting the W as the Angels took home their second title in franchise history.