ANAHEIM -- An oft-used cliche for teams in the hunt this time of year is, "We control our own destiny." But the Angels can't use that line. Because in order to make up the three-game gap that sits between them and the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot in the American League, the Angels need help. Gone are head-to-head matchups against the teams in front of them -- unless you count a Rangers club that's 7 1/2 games better in the AL West -- making it very possible that the Angels play their best ball the rest of the way and still miss the playoffs. It's a rather helpless feeling.
"That's not the way I view it," Angels slugger Mark Trumbo said. "I think the sentiment probably of most of the guys is just try and finish up as strong as we can. The fact that we really don't have a lot of wiggle room as far as playing teams that we can directly impact, that's kind of a tough deal. But that's the way it is. You play this many games, you're going to have to live with the spots that you're in. We've had our chances and done some good things, and there were some games that got away from us. But all that you can ask for is to be in it, and that's where we are." Through 147 games, the Angels sport a .544 winning percentage. If they play to that percentage the rest of the way, they'll finish 88-74 -- which means they'd need the O's to finish 5-10 just to tie for the second AL Wild Card spot. If the Angels go 10-5, they'll need the O's to go no better than 7-8. And if the O's win 12 of their last 15 games, the Angels would have to go 15-0 just to match them. Angels manager Mike Scioscia often says, "Our focus is in-house." But even he admits scoreboard watching is now a big part of the day-to-day routine. "There's a time it's relevant and a time it's not relevant," Scioscia said. "It's relevant now." The Orioles have two more games in Seattle, then three over the weekend in Boston, then host the Blue Jays for four, host the Red Sox for three and finish the season with three against the Rays in St. Petersburg. The Angels seemingly have a tougher road. They host the Rangers for three, the White Sox for three and the Mariners for three, then play a three-game set in Texas and another one in Seattle to finish the season. "The only way we can go about it is to control what we can control," Scioscia said. "You can call it cliches, you can call it whatever you want, but that's where we are. We need to continue to win, and put ourselves in a position to take advantage if other teams don't play at a certain level. And of the teams we have to catch, they have to earn it, too. They have to go out there and win."