On April 21st, 2015 the Angels played the AL West cellar dwelling Oakland Athletics, and won the game by a hefty score of 14-1. That’s more or less a month ago, yet if you ask any Angel fan, they’ll swear that it had to have been MANY months ago, years even, since they laid a football score on a team. They will tell you how the offense has been pitiful this season, and that the only way they’ll believe the Angels are capable of scoring that many runs is if you tell them it was last season, or in an alternate dimension. It’s important to understand this in order to also understand how ecstatic and satisfied Angels fans feel tonight, as they witnessed an epic beatdown of the dive bar doormen known as the Boston Red Sox, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The fact that the Angels were able to finally form together like Voltron and crush an opposing pitching staff to smithereens is amazing; for it to happen in the purview of the churlish pink hat faithful makes it downright cathartic.
The narrative before the game was the return of Garrett Richards to the scene of his 2014 season-ending injury. There was no drama, though, as Garrett didn’t seem to be tentative whatsoever and the Angels would then pile on so many runs that any last tiny bit of narrative left was rendered moot. In the sixth, he was able to cover first for Pujols and make the routine play that put him out of commission last year, so you’d think there was some small consolation in Richards’ mind.
Albert Pujols got the Angels on the board in the fourth with a laser beam solo homerun, and Marc Krauss was able to drive in a run a few batters later with a fielder’s choice. Those are both amazing things, but we don’t need to talk about that right now. We need to talk about that fifth. That 37 minute long, NINE runs scored fifth inning...just to put a point on it. We’ve seen their pitiful run differential numbers this past week, and this game will hopefully serve as a harbinger of a 180 degree turn about to happen; an antidote to the one run nailbiter disease they’ve been infected with in the month of May. There was everything you could possibly want out of an Angels baseball game. You got the rare Chris Iannetta moonshot homer. You got to point and laugh as recent Cuban call-up Rusney Castillo dropped a routine fly ball, allowing a run. You got to see Erick Aybar hit a dinger of his own, and then you watched as he circled the bases, smiling ear to ear as Albert Pujols went crazy in the dugout. You saw Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and David Freese all drive in runs. You even saw Matt Joyce have a good game! It was heaven on Earth. But above all that, you saw something that you still don’t believe happened. Mike Trout, attempting to steal third base, was basically gunned down; 100% dead to rights. Mike Trout, seeing the tag coming from Brock Holt, entered into Matrix bullet-time mode, did a swim move OVER the tag, twisted his torso a bit, completely and inexplicably avoiding the tag all while keeping his foot on the bag. Unreal. All told, the fifth inning saw the Angels put up nine runs, six hits, two walks and a dumptruck full of Schadenfreude.
That was easily the best inning of baseball we’ve watched all year, and it came against a dream punching bag opponent. The Angels did let the Red Sox into the game a tad, as Richards ended up allowing 5 runs over six innings and had to be pulled for Jose Alvarez. So perhaps this game wont help the run differntial bottom line all that much in the end, but that’s not enough to sour the sweet taste of those Red Sox Nation tears. I don’t know if this game is a sign of things to come, but right now, I don’t care. The Angels came into Fenway, laid a monster beating on Boston, and Mike Trout bent space and time to the deliver the thrills that pay the bills. That’s all that matters right now.