Skip to main content

Not Even Shohei Ohtani Can Break the Angels' Cycle of Mediocrity

In this weekend's Hot Clicks: Ohtani single-handedly carries Angels to victory, Super Bowl wins for Brady and Rodgers if they swapped teams and more.

Mediocrity Persists

Mike Trout was named 2014 AL MVP on Nov. 13, 2014, six weeks after the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim completed a 98-win season. While the Angels were swept by the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS, they were still a damn good team with a plus-143 run differential and eight players posting an OPS of at least .700.

Two years later, when Trout won the 2016 AL MVP, the Angels weren’t a damn good team, nor were they in 2019 when Trout joined Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra as the only players to win AL MVP three times.

Barring a monster second half, Trout won’t become the first four-time AL MVP winner, though his teammate, Shohei Ohtani, could become the Angels’ fourth all-time MVP and give the franchise four of the last eight AL MVP winners.

And Ohtani, barring a monster second half from his team, would do so amidst continued mediocrity from a franchise that struggles to win despite fielding the league’s best player in four of the last six years.

The Angels entered Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles with a 39-41 record, nine games behind the Astros in the AL West and 7.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second Wild Card spot. And they needed two taters from Ohtani to beat the league’s worst team by one run.

"He pretty much single-handedly beat us. He's such a good player. I don't know what to say,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said after the game. “The hottest hitter on the planet right now and it's not just driving the ball and base hits. It's deep home runs. You walk him and he’ll steal second on you.”

Ohtani over the last 15 games (two of which included only one at-bat): 13 home runs and 21 RBIs in 54 at-bats.

The Angels over the last 15 games: 7-8.

The last 15 games, during which the Angels lost five games by at least four runs and never once allowed fewer than two runs, have been the perfect microcosm of Angels’ baseball over the last several years; the mediocrity persists despite domination from the best player in baseball.

QB Swap

Conor Orr filled in for Albert Breer on the MMQB Mailbag and answered this question:

“How many Super Bowls would Tom Brady have on all of Aaron Rodgers’s teams and vice versa?”

Rodgers has one Super Bowl win in 13 years as a starting quarterback while Brady has seven in 20 seasons. Orr believes Rodgers would have “three, maybe four” of Brady’s seven Super Bowls and makes several good points that take this question in different directions, including:

“I don’t know if Brady, had he been drafted in the seventh round by the Packers, would have had the chance to rise through the organization like he did in New England, thus cementing himself as a journeyman backup. He was obviously good enough to become the greatest player in NFL history, but I think a lot of his rise had to do with a willingness from the Patriots’ coaching staff to buck traditional thinking and pour their resources behind someone like Brady, along with Brady’s ability to see that working the way he did was going to be rewarded.”

Other topics covered: Jaguars as a dark horse in the AFC South, starting quarterback on the next 49ers’ team to win a Super Bowl, and Zach Wilson.

This is Accurate

Brook Tha Gawd

New Trailers

Follow me on Twitter, check out my podcast, and bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.