The Angels are in first place in the AL West; let it sink in a bit. Crazy off-season drama, the usual slow start, under-performing hitters, per-caps, and front office drama be damned. The Angels are on a tear during this current road trip that culminates in an All Star break, and have barely let their foot off the pedal. They came into Seattle today to finish things up for the first half, with Andrew Heaney getting perhaps one more look before Mike Scioscia has to decide what he’s going to do with the 24 year old left hander. Well, Heaney’s performance today isn’t going to make any impending decision easier; in fact, it’s almost certain to be the very antithesis to "no brainer". The Mariners’ clownish defense pitched in to lend a hand to Heaney, but much like games in Colorado and Texas, the Angels bats made sure the starter was walking out of there with a win.
In the second inning, the Mariners decided to begin the task of turning the diamond into a run gifting suite for the visiting Halos. Robinson Cano misplayed a Matt Joyce grounder, allowing Erick Aybar to score. Then, a wild pitch by Seattle starter Taijuan Walker allowed David Freese to trot home untouched, making the score 2-0 Angels. In the third, Aybar would double while Mike Trout was on first, but a botched throw from left fielder Mark Trumbo would allow Mike Trout to score. They would get another gifted run later in the game, scoring four runs total on an error, wild pitch and two more errors. Thanks for the hospitality, Mariners!
Andrew Heaney, in the meantime, was having himself a day on the hill, going seven shutout innings with five hits, 1 BB and 6 Ks. Heaney is continuing to show the powers that be that he’s a piece that needs to be taken far, far away from the trading block, and kept on the big league roster. There is only so much room on that roster, though, but either way, i’m sure we’ve got plenty more of Heaney wearing Angels red in our future.
With Heaney and the Angels commanding a 4-0 lead in the sixth, thanks mostly from some poor defensive choices and plays on Seattle’s part, the offense decided to get in on the action. David Freese hit a two run double(that was about two feet away from being a three run bomb) to center. Then Daniel Robertson scored Freese on a fielder’s choice. They were in full Big Offensive Inning mode, made popular on this road trip, and continued to spread it on when Chris Iannetta hit a two-run bomb to left field, making the score 9-0 and virtually sealing the deal on the Angels usurping of the Houston Astros today. Mike Trout tacked on a run via a fielder’s choice in the seventh and we had a nice, fat, double digit score again. The Angels have now scored 10+ runs NINE times in 2015, and only the Toronto Blue Jays have had more (15).
So another wham bam, landslide win for the Halos on this ridiculous road trip, and all of a sudden we’re rabid fans of a FIRST PLACE team. Unreal, but feels oh so good. The Angels have won 10 of their last 13, and in the last nine days they’ve gained five games on the Astros. With the Dipoto/Scioscia fracas that just barely preceded this sky-rocketing Angels stock, it’s almost hard to believe we’re in this spot. And we’re seeing the emergence of key position players that we needed, and that Jerry Dipoto was depending on coming alive. C.J. Cron has had himself a ball on this stretch: Andrew Heaney is now a well known and drool-inducing commodity; we have a nice 7th inning guy in Trevor Gott(although he allowed two runs of the ballgame today); Erick Aybar has been absolutely on fire and Chris Iannetta is having his best season(if you just forget April happened). We have three All Stars on the team, and a second half of baseball to still prepare for and to enjoy. For much of June, we were so down but were hanging in there with these guys. Now we’re walking in high, Jerry Dipoto-assembled cotton, mid-July and loving OUR team and OUR guys, and loving baseball. The Angels may still be Boethius’ wheel, but knowing that can’t even take anything away from our current ascension and all the dizzy, delirious joy that comes with it.