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Commentary: Angels in contention, but need to fix problems within division

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2014 is a much different looking season from the past three.

Off to bad starts in previous years, the Angels have actually put themselves in position to contend not only for a wild card berth, but also the AL West crown. To do that though, the team must start winning games within the division.

While the Halos are 6-2 in Interleague Play and 9-3 against the AL Central, an 11-17 record against the teams they play most often is simply not good enough.

Why the Angels are struggling against the West is a mystery, because the team has clearly shown improvement both in the rotation and in the bullpen despite the losses of Sean Burnett and Tyler Skaggs and the demotion of Hector Santiago to the minors.

Even the offense has upheld its end without Josh Hamilton for six weeks, Kole Calhoun for six more and David Freese for four.

With 47 games remaining against West rivals, the Angels are far from out of the race despite being 4-1/2 games behind Oakland in the standings.

The first step begins tonight in the opener of a three-game set against the Athletics.

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