At this point in the season, things couldn't look better for the Los Angels of Anaheim. At first place in the division, they have distanced themselves from the second-place Seattle Mariners and have the division pennant all but won, allowing themselves to focus on grabbing the American League's best record ahead of the Boston Red Sox.
With a dominant pitching staff, led by John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar, supported by the consistent Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders, and bolstered by the return of Ervin Santana to the majors, and a more-than-capable, if not potent, offense, lead by Vladimir Guerrero, Orlando Cabrera, and Garret Anderson, and backed by the likes of Gary Matthews, Jr., Reggie Willits, and Casey Kotchman, the Angels just about have a complete team to make a run deep through October. In addition, the bullpen is more than strong, bolstered by setup men Scot Shields and Justin Speier and finished with Fransisco Rodriguez.
There are two minor concerns for the Halos: number one, the health of leadoff man Chone Figgins, and number two, the experience behind the plate. Figgins is working to be ready soon, while the catchers are Jeff Mathis and Ryan Budde. The jury is out on whether Mathis is ready to be a starting catcher in the majors, while Budde isn't MLB-ready yet. However, the Angels didn't have a choice but to call them up from Salt Lake when they traded ex-starting catcher Jose Molina to the Yankees and supposed successor Mike Napoli went down with an injury the next day.
However, these are indeed minor concerns for the Halos. Also, with the rehab of Bartolo Colon and Juan Rivera recently completed, and the return of Howie Kendrick from injury, the Angels roster is stocked with talent and savvy experience. They may have to face New York in the first round, who they defeated in the same round in 2002 and 2005, but if that is the case, so be it. Boston should be the only hurdle for this club this season.