The Angels have essentially had the AL West wrapped up for weeks now, but it was Monday’s win over the Mariners that officially put them into the postseason, as they became the first team this year to clinch a berth.
It will be the Angels’ first trip to the postseason in five years. They lost in the ALCS in 2009, which concluded a run in which they went to the postseason six times in eight years.
Rookie Matt Shoemaker got the victory in an 8-1 game Monday, taking a shutout into the eighth inning before giving up a run and leaving with a minor injury sustained on a grounder up the middle. He improved to 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA on the season.
The other bad news was that Albert Pujols left the game with a mild hamstring injury that he might need to rest for a few days. The Angels got homers from David Freese and Brennan Boesch in the rout.
For the Mariners, it was another big loss, putting a major crimp in their own postseason plans. They’ve dropped three in a row to fall two games back of the Royals for the second wild card.
At 94-56, the Angels merely need to play .500 ball from here on in to win 100 games for the second time in franchise history. If they go 7-5, they’ll overtake the 2008 Angels, who finished the season 100-62 before losing in the ALDS.