Angels give Blue Jays even more home-field advantage down the stretch.
Despite having the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout who are, arguably the best two players in all of baseball, the Los Angeles Angels are far from a playoff contender. They are 16 games out of a playoff spot and they already fired manager Joe Maddon earlier this year. They are heading to Toronto this weekend to face the Toronto Blue Jays, who are in the exact opposite spot.
The Blue Jays currently have a one-game lead on the Seattle Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot. The Jays are favored against the Angels for good reason but the Angels made it even easier for the Blue Jays on paper as three players from the Angels will not be with the team this weekend because they are unvaccinated.
Three Angels players won’t be playing against the Blue Jays this weekend
Three Angels won’t be with the team in Toronto while they face the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend, including one of their best position players.
The three players that the club placed on the restricted list are outfielder Taylor Ward and relievers Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup. They have been replaced on the roster by outfielder Ryan Aguilar and relievers José Marte and Gerardo Reyes.
Ward has played in 101 games this year and he has hit .261/.356/.447 with 17 home runs, 46 RBI, and an OPS+ of 126. By WAR, he is their fourth-best player overall and their third-best hitter after Ohtani and Trout.
Loup and Tepera are first and second on the team in appearances. Loup has 51 appearances with a 4.05 ERA. He is one of only two left-handed relievers in their bullpen so with him being out for the series, the Angels only have one left-handed reliever. Tepera has made 46 appearances with a 3.80 ERA.
The Blue Jays are only 0.5 game back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the first AL Wild Card spot and they are facing the Red Sox this weekend. While the Red Sox are not a good team, they are better than the Angels even with those three players so the Blue Jays could be at a real advantage this weekend and move into the first Wild Card spot.