Dodgers and Angels both miss the playoffs

The Dodgers' trades during the season for a gazillion dollars in fat contracts wasn't enough for them to make the post-season party. In fact, they played worse with Adrian Gonzales, Hanley Ramirez and Josh Beckett than they did in the first two months of the season. The trio played pretty well during their LA stints: above average, but not star level, and below each player's personal bests. The Dodgers ended the season with a 5-1 win over the Giants and Clayton Kershaw won the game and the league's ERA title. But Matt Kemp revealed that he needs serious shoulder surgery before he will be ready for next season.

The Dodgers finish 86-76, eight games behind the Giants. After June 1 they were just 54-56.

The Angels finished with a better record — 89-72, 5 games behind the division-winning Oakland A's — but their finish may be more painful for the fans and front office in Anaheim than the Dodgers' was. Before the season the Angels signed the presumed best player in baseball in Albert Pujols, and in rookie Mike Trout they found themselves with the actual best player in baseball, and they still missed the playoffs.

Trout left jaws gaping all around baseball and may become both the American League's rookie of the year and most valuable player, at age 21. He was the biggest thing to hit baseball this year, but there are a few other things for casual followers to take note of.

Miguel Cabrera, the third baseman for Detroit, became the first hitter since 1967 to lead his league in batting average. home runs and runs batted in. That would ordinarily win him the MVP award, but there's a strong current in the sport to give that honor to Trout, who is a much better fielder and base runner almost as potent a slugger.

A team from Washington, in this case the Nationals, finished in first place for the first time since 1933. And the Baltimore Orioles qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.


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