Something was in the air tonight at The Big A, and it sure wasn’t the marine layer. In just the first two innings of the ball game, the Angels went yard FIVE times on Tigers pitcher Shane Greene. Either the Angels just match up extremely well against Tigers hitting, or the team has officially caught fire. This current series has produced a lot of much needed offense, pouring it on thick on Thursday, getting flashy on Friday and savage on Saturday.
Mike Trout kicked things off in the first with a solo shot to left center, clearing the fence by about 6 feet and bouncing off of the rock pile. Kole Calhoun immediately got jealous and wanted in on the fun, doing so with a solo shot of his own to center field. At this point, the stadium was already pulsating with fan energy and just when you think things have reached an early apex, up comes Matt Joyce to join the homerun derby with a dinger of his own just over the left center wall. Matt Joyce has been on a tear recently, seemingly going unconscious at just the right time, when the team was not only desperate for it, but also when a certain AL West left fielder started playing again, giving whispers to a new Napoli-like karmic Angels haunting. It may be an overreaction, but I can’t help it: over the past two weeks, Matt Joyce has been terrific and in the past 7 days, he’s been a beast. The Angels bombardment was far from over, though, a fact heralded by Carlos Perez as he followed up Joyce’s homerun with a shot of his own, almost to the exact same spot. Finally, Albert Pujols, another player who has found his power stroke lately, capped off the scoring surge with a booming 3-run jimmy jack to left field, far over the heads of the souls down on the Trout Farm. The Angels had a 7-1 lead and were probably dizzy from the quick and thunderous succession in which they laid the smack down on Shane Greene. The poor kid didn’t even see it coming, and frankly, I’m not sure any of the fans did, either. Some runs, yeah, but five homeruns in the first two innings? Video game stuff, my friend.
Jered Weaver was the lucky beneficiary of this insane outpouring of power hitting, and while he only allowed three earned runs in 6.1 innings, he did so while giving up nine hits. His major gaffe was giving up a homer on an 88mph fastball to Yoenis Cespedesin the second. In general, the Tigers had no problem touching Jered’s pitches tonight, making contact often, but he was able to get out of any serious jams and avoided throwing away the safety blanket scoreboard his team afforded him this evening. In the seventh, Weaver was pulled for Cesar Ramos, who was then replaced by Fernando Salas with only one out in the side. Salas got the Halos out of the inning relatively unscathed, but Mike Scioscia looked to him to get four outs tonight, and trotted him out to the hill again in the eighth. This proved too much pitching for one evening for Fernando, as he allowed a run score off a fielder’s choice, and then gave up an RBI double to James McCann. Scioscia’s hand was forced to put in Joe Smith, who was unavailable last night due to a sore neck. Smith looked fine, however, and led the Angels into the ninth. But not before Carlos Perez would double in David Freese, giving the Angels a huge, late insurance run and further making the fans salivate for the rookie catcher. He had a big night at the plate, much like in his MLB debut earlier this season, and if it continues to light a fire under Chris Iannetta and wake him up in the batters box, then good things will continue to happen no matter who is the backstop.
It was a bit troubling to see relievers, especially Huston Street, allow the Tigers back in the game somewhat, but behind the early deluge of homeruns, and Perez’s huge ninth inning cherry on top, the Angels actually had a game where their pitching could make some mistakes and the team would STILL walk away with the win. It’s somewhat nerve racking knowing the bullpen has that capability, but on a night like tonight you just have to overlook those late inning runs and enjoy the taste of a three game win streak.
The Angels go into tomorrow’s ESPN Sunday night game looking to get a four game sweep of Detroit, and turning the tide on hopefully not only this long homestand, but also the season. It’s been a fun few games to watch, that’s for sure. Life is good when the Angels win, it is divine when they destroy.