There was a catch made tonight, by Mike Trout, that i'll never forget in my lifetime. It immediately became one of the marquee moments in the history of this franchise. It was one of the best catches i've ever seen, period. Not only did it defy gravity, physical ability, dexterity and concentration, it also had the potential to save a season.
First, though, let's talk about that game.
The Angels were probably still reeling a bit from last night's joyous, 8-4 stomping of the Mariners but somewhere in the back of their minds, they knew Saturday night they'd have to get down to business. Serious, King Felix-style business. Yes, the Angels would be facing Felix Hernandez and on top of that, Houston had beaten the Rangers earlier in the day, so it was either commit regicide, or lose a game in the standings. As Omar always said, if you come at the king, you best not miss.
Andrew Heaney was King Felix's dueling partner tonight, and managed to hold his own in the six innings pitched tonight. Hernandez, however, looked shaky from the start. He started the game giving up three straight hits, and throwing two wild pitches, all in the first inning. He also looked shaky in the second and parts of a couple other innings, and you know what? He got out of most jams, no matter how tight they were.
David Murphy had a sac fly in the first, and put the Angels on the board immediately, but they still were having a LOBster fest, extra King Felix butter. Heaney gave up a ground out in the second that scored a run, and then he allowed a solo homer to Ketel Marte in the third. This was Marte's first career home run, and the Mariners had themselves a 2-1 lead.
Then, in the top of the fourth, Mike Trout did the impossible and made us believers in his unparalleled greatness. He made The Catch, Pt 2.
With two men on, no outs and Angels fly in the ointment Jesus Montero at the plate, Andrew Heaney served up a pitch down the middle that Montero drove to deep, deep center field. It hung up in the air for what seemed like an eternity, but the whole time, Mike Trout had it tracked in his eyes like an eagle preying on a fish in water. It looked like a no doubter, game over, season over, possibly. But then the MVP and greatest baseball player in the galaxy climbed the wall like Spiderman, put half his body above the top of the fence, and reached his glove back and snagged the ball from certain home run status.
The crowd went wild, and even his teammates had to take time out and watch the replay on the jumbotron. It should have been a homer. Any other player, it's gone and your team is out of luck and losing ground in the most important time of the season. But when you have Mike Trout, the game is changed. Literally. The Angels win probability had a swing of 26% on just that play, and the Angels had officially been lit on fire. The crowd let it sink in with an ovation that lasted a few minutes.
The Angels would build on momentum from that play, at one point retiring 15 batters straight after The Catch. C.J. Cron got them back in it with a shot to deep center field, and the Angels were tied at 2-2. They stayed knotted up until the ninth inning, even after Huston Street appeared to injure his groin and had to be helped off the field. But they made it to the ninth, they held the keys to the kingdom in their hands.
Then Mr. October decided to make a little September preview appearance. David Freese, in the bottom of the ninth, hit a solo shot off of reliever Danny Farquhar, giving the Angels HUGE, insanely important 3-2 walk-off victory.
This was the most thrilling game of the season, and it feels like we're watching an entirely new team here. Perhaps i'm just punch drunk from watching that catch over and over and over, and then to be sent into full on mind-blown territory with a David Freese walk-off bomb? UN. REAL.
This is crazy. But this is also baseball. Anything can happen, you guys. I saw proof of that tonight. Mike Trout is a legend, David Freese is a hero and the Angels are on fire.