The series win over the hated Dodgers is complete. The Battle For Los Angeles is over, and the Halos have proven that they are the undisputed kings of L.A. baseball...at least for now. It's not up for debate. The Angels walloped the Dodgers in this series, and they sealed the deal with a comeback knockout in front of the biggest regular season Big A crowd in about a decade. This team is real, and the Rally Cat exists.
When everything is firing on all cylinders, you can absorb certain blows that the baseball gods dole out, such as new-guy starters named Jhoulys Chacin, who don't even make it five innings before needing to be pulled. The offensive onslaught that our dashing heroes have perpetrated on their foes is almost criminal, uncalled for and just plain bullying...but it's also amazing, and revitalizing. Watching these guys, this Red Menace, dump 7 or 8 runs on unsuspecting rivals is truly one of life's great pleasures.
Tonight, with Chacin being a little shaky, it was guys like Mike Trout, who had a single and a homer, and Johnny Giavotella, who had a HUGE, go-ahead, two-run single in the fith, that kept the Halos' heads above water. They were also basically given runs by the hapless excuses for ballplayers that some people call the Dodgers, like when C.J. Cron was hit by a pitch WITH THE BASES LOADED. Outside of a Kershaw shanking, this team can do no wrong as of late.
Speaking of something that can do no wrong: the bullpen was a force to be reckoned with tonight, taking a cue from the lively bats and answering back with some shut down appearances from Jose Alvarez, Greg Mahle, Fernando Salas and Joe Smith. These guys picked up the pieces that Chacin tried to fragment the game into, put them back together and then held it there until the last out of the game. 4.2 innings pitched between those relievers, ZERO hits given up, ZERO runs.
The heroes are emerging, things are aligning, the RALLY CAT HAS BEEN APPEASED AND IS BESTOWING IT'S GIFTS UPON US ONE THOUSAND FOLD.
There were smiles and laughs throughout the dugout, throughout the stadium, all through the night. When Carlos Perez finally showed some might, as he hit his first bomb of the season, the Angels players gave him the silent treatment for a few seconds before their pure and utter joy shone through. Bad vibes from a horrible start to May have been all but excised by a string of unlikely comebacks and rallies, and hope was restored in two surprising series wins.
They are bending, but not breaking; taking abuse and then giving it right back. A menagerie of both superstars and also-rans alike, but they are banding together to take down their division and make the doubters pay. When guys like Rafael Ortega are laying out their bodies and leaving blood in the gravel, just to get an out for Joe Smith, there is something special in the air of that clubhouse.
The Angels won 7-4, and they are now 6-1 in their last seven. The sweeps at the hands of the Rays and the Cardinals, and the appearance of RALLY CAT, have galvanized the Halos; they are steely-eyed baseball killers on the prowl, littering both the road and their own den with Mariners and Dodgers carcasses.
I think this could just be the beginning. This team is just getting started.