The Angels really did something special at the end of the 2015 season: they made us forget all the things we hated about them in April and May, and made us believe that they could sneak into a play-in game, and get a little sip off of the playoff fountain of youth. They won close games, big games, Johnny Giavotella made a triumphant return, Mike Trout kept pace in the MVP race, and Albert Pujols surprised us all with a lil power left in the tank. The Angels needed a win today, to keep that hi-octane beast chugging down the Highway of the Panther, but there was no rest for that underpowered red machine, and it could only run on the fumes of Halo heroics for so long. The machine gave it's last gasp, in the last game of the season; it was a sad sight to see them come up short, but the ride here had enough thrills and fun that the pain is slightly dulled; a manageable disappointment with flashes of brilliance and memory making we haven't seen in years.
Albert Pujols did his best at putting the team on his back today, when he hit a two run shot in the first. It followed a two out Mike Trout double, and the Angels had themselves a relatively big jump on Rangers starter Cole Hamels. Unfortunately after that, Hamels would gain control of the Angels' bats and not relinquish it for the entirety of the remaining afternoon. They were suffocated at the plate, as Hamels went all the way through the ninth, dropping a complete game domination on the visiting Halos; a swift, but grisly, coup de grace from the season's final boss.
Garrett Richards did his best, as well, and pitched extremely well, under short circumstances. He went through six innings, making only one huge, damning mistake: a two run shot to Adrian Beltre. With a run on the board already, that home run took a 2-1 Angels lead and crushed it into 3-2 Rangers lead goop. The season was slipping away at that point...if it weren't for yesterday's surreal comeback, we'd have all written them off right then and there. But we've seen them play recently; they could come back from this.
Or perhaps they couldn't. Hamels did his thing and then a gigantic, season ending seventh inning opened the floodgates and drowned the Angels, putting them out of misery once and for all. By the end of the seventh, the Rangers had their 9-2 supremacy in tact, and that was all she wrote for the 2015 Los Angeles Angels.
The bullpen was gassed...when Richards was pulled after six, the only people they could really go to were Cam Bedrosian and Cesar Ramos. Those are not guys you want to be going to, to say the least. They just didn't have anything left in the tank...running on fumes.....but that last jolt they gave us, over September. It was a blast. I had written them off, and then we had stuff like The Catch 2, or yesterday's insanity, or the scoreboard watching and back and forth conversations with fellow Angels friends.
It was a last gasp that turned 2015 from a throwaway, rebuild-with-nothing season in hell into a veritable roller coaster, replete with enough twists and turns that they almost needed to have a barf bag promotion night at the Big A. They built us up, Buttercup, baby...but while they most definitely let us down, they at least got us high on some amazing Angels baseball on the way there.
Valiant effort, Angels.