Do the Angels have the best starting pitching in baseball?
Do they have the best pen?
Do they have the most power?
The best fielders?
Then what exactly do they have?
The best team.
Right now, at this point in the season, it's no contest. The Angels are the best team in baseball. Better than the Yankees and Dodgers and Bosox and Tigers and any other team you want to mention.
It's not only because, other than the deadlocked Dodgers, they have the best record in the game (and the best road record, period.) It's the way they're winning.
They're destroying good teams, beating up on bad ones, winning the way they did in 2002 - with frenzied hitting that leads to big innings and knocks the stuffing out of teams.
It's a beautiful thing.
Look, I've been following the Angels for a long time. There was a time when winning at all was a miracle.
But now wining isn't enough. It's about winning a championship.
And this is the first time since 2002 that they have the team to do it.
There are some questions, of course.
Will Saunders and Weaver hold up in the postseason (don't even talk to me about Santana)? Will Vladdy contribute or get in the way? Will the pen implode under playoff pressure, or will stars be born a la Frankie Rodriguez.?
But this team can overcome the questions.
They've got a unique blend of speed, power, and contact hitting.
There are no easy outs in the line-up (as long as Mathis isn't in there.)
And they've got the confidence to win every night. You can see it in their eyes.
Who can argue?
Yankee fans? After their pitching was exposed by the Chisox? The Angels can beat the Yanks on a bad day.
The Dodgers? Yes, the Dodgers are playing well, and are managed by one of the best. But they're still young and I think capable of imploding. And who really wants to root for Manny anymore? The deadlocks suddenly feel annoying.
Boston. The biggest threat to the Angels come postseason, of course. But right now, a clear notch below.
Philly. Yes, solid team, and better after their trades, but not paying as well as the Angels.
Tigers? Forget it. Their hitting is spotty.
Chisox or Cubs? One has no pen, the other has Kevin Gregg, who Angels fans remember for having thrown 4 wild pitches in one inning.
Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa, S.F.? Nah.
I know Angels fans are disappointed that the team didn't improve with trades. Me, too. They should have gotten a pitcher. I was all for giving up a package for Lee or Halladay, but not with Weaver included. He's gonna be one of them very soon. He's got the talent, and the toughness.
But this year's team isn't built on pitching. It's built on hitting. Just like in 2002.
The 2002 team had good pitching, not great. The pen was light's out, but the starters were just solid guys who kept the team in games until that offense exploded. Which it invariably did.
This team is the same. They can win giving up a few runs. Even more than a few. The pitching just has to be good enough to keep the team in games. Then the hitting will take over.
Forget last year's 100 win squad. This year's team is a million times better.
This year's team is one we can take pride in, get excited about, make plans for.
This year's team is the best in baseball.