Los Angeles Angels became the first team to claim their place in the postseason after thumping Seattle Mariners 8-1 and can clinch the American League West title outright by Wednesday.
Last night’s victory gave the Angels an unassailable 13.5 game lead over the Mariners, who sit third in the AL West.
This meant the Angels are guaranteed a postseason place via the Wild Card spots or winning the division outright, which seems almost certain after they maintained their 10.5 game lead on the Oakland Athletics.
Shoemaker pulling the strings
Monday’s win was awarded to starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker, who conceded just one run in his 7 2/3 innings and improved his season pitching figures to 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA.
With Shoemaker’s support at the mound the Angels offence got to work in the third inning. Albert Pujols’ double down to left field allowed three runners get home before Pujols had to be replaced by Tony Campana after complaining of an injury at second base.
With the injury substitution in place Howie Kendrick smashed a double into centre field which allowed Campana to get home safely.
Dominant stuff from the Angels
The home side never looked back and added three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to effectively end the contest.
The Angels have taken a 1-0 lead in the four game series against the Mariners at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim. If they repeat the trick tonight and tomorrow, the division title is theirs regardless thanks to an unassailable lead over second place Oakland Athletics.
It will be the Halos first postseason since 2009 when they reached the American League Championship Series, eventually losing to New York Yankees 4-2.
The Halos also own the best season record (94-56) and are the most in-form team in MLB. This is what team manager Mike Scioscia will demand from his players: to maintain their fine form for the playoffs.