Jake Arrieta wasn't on the mound tonight for the Cubs, so that's good, right? It would give the Angels, who got shut out last night in the season opener, a better chance at winning the game if they didn't have to face Chicago's ace, yeah? These are the suppositions one might have had festering in their brains as tonight's game got under way; the type of thoughts that quell last night's gut shot and give way to brighter hopes for the next game; a 'we'll get 'em tomorrow" for the soul.
Unfortunately, even the most optimistic of takes from the Opening Day loss would prove a useless salve to the burn the Cubs continued to put on the Angels today. Jon Lester was on the mound, no slough himself...but no Arrieta. The Angels put Andrew Heaney on the bump, and hoped with some solid innings and some offense awakenings, they might split this odd, two-game series. One of those two things ended up happening.
Heaney's outing was an odd one, with some nervous excitement at the beginning in the form of a blood-splattered jersey. Heaney looked ok in the first, pitching-wise, but quickly signaled to the dugout that something was wrong. The television broadcast showed blood specks on the white jersey, and it was quickly evident that he had a nosebleed. A weird thing to see, no doubt, although it brought back fun memories of Ervin Santana and the "f*** it, let's pitch" game. Unlike that game, however, the Angels didn't do so hot.
The big, black eye on Heaney's start was in the third inning. He let things get a little too crazy, gave up five total hits, two of which were homers that were absolutely smoked. Four runs were put up on the board for Chicago, and lesser-fans began to hyperventilate and took to the web to let us all know this season is over. Well, they can r-e-l-a-x because outside of that ONE bad side, to one of the best team's in the entire MLB, Andrew Heaney was cruising.
He finished with 6 IP, 7 hits, 4 ER, 0 BB and a career high 7 Ks. Not too shabby at all. Now, the Angels would just have to score some runs and hold the Cubbies off for awhile. Spoiler alert: that didn't really go so well. The Angels didn't have much to scare Jon Lester with, outside of the stray hit or two.
They did finally get on the board in the 6th; Yunel Escobar turned a slow ball down the right field wall into a very close double(aided by some nifty moves to avoid a tag). Then, Craig Gentry drove him in with a single to left. The Angels finally had a run!
The bad news? They didn't score any more runs. They worse news? Dexter Fowler took reliever Mike Morin deep for a two run shot, making the score 6-1 and pretty much signaling this series was over. And not a moment too soon, either, if you're an Angels fan. The Cubs were picked by many to win the World Series this year, and they have proved that at the very least, they're currently a few notches above the Angels in terms of overall deadliness.
One bad inning from Heaney, and nine bad innings of ABs for the lineup, mixed with a dose of bullpen mistake, and you have a 6-1 loss and an 0-2 start to the 2016 season. The Angels don't have any NL teams on the docket for awhile, but things aren't getting easier with Texas coming to town Thursday. Rest up, Halos...maybe this little day off will help the season sink in some more, and let the nerves fall to the wayside. Wake up, bats. These games count, ya know?!