The Angels came into Arlington today for a quick little road trip series with the Rangers, and they did so riding a high from a good baseball weekend. Well, they lost a series to Baltimore, looking at it with more optimistic eyes, you could see that this team was scoring more, and getting more out of their starting pitching. They SHOULD have won the Orioles series, but the good news is that they are still on an offensive roll.
They'd need that offense in Texas. If not, then it'd take one heck of a good starter.
Nick Tropeano was yet again steadfast and crackerjack on the mound tonight, with no hint at all of any regression or stumble. Nope, the NiTro circus traveled to yet another town and by the time he left, that whole lineup would remember him next time they have to stare him down at the plate, that's for sure. Tropeano made it 6.1 beautiful innings, in which he only gave up four hits, and didn't allow a single run.
Tropeano also had six strikeouts, most of which involved his filthy change-up. NiTro's off-speed pitches looked SO good tonight, you'd leave your significant other just to runaway to Las Vegas with the off-speed pitches, get married, get a suite at El Cortez, honeymoon for a week at the off-speed pitches' parents' timeshare in Hawaii, then come back home, in love and wanting to have the off-speed pitches' little baby pitches. THAT'S how good his off-speed stuff looked.
On the back of Tropeano, the Angels got through the bottom of each inning, at least up until the 7th, but in the top of the sides, the Angels had to deal with some decent pitching themselves. Rangers starter Derek Holland was pretty stout on the mound in Arlington tonight, but in the third, he'd get a little too daring and served up a double to Mike Trout, followed by an Albert Pujols jack to left field. Those two runs gave the Angels a 2-0 lead and that's where the game would sit all the way through to the ninth. (That was also Albert Pujols' 569th homer, tying him with Rafael Palmeiro on the all-time list)
The Angels didn't get as much help from their bullpen as they'd hoped, to the point where it seemed like we'd have a repeat of Saturday night. Yep, a Halos pitcher(Shoemaker/Tropeano) has a great start and a near-win, if it weren't for the bullpen coming in and blowing the whole thing up. Greg Mahle got a couple guys on when he relieved NiTro, and in the eighth, Fernando Salas got the bases loaded but miraculously got out of the jam(in no small part to a great diving catch up the middle by Johnny Giavotella).
As precarious as that lead was throughout the Angels/Rangers rumble, the visiting Angels held their ground and gutted out a win. Tropeano got his W, all on the backs of a couple huge hits from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. That's not the ideal way to win games; in fact, that's about the amount of fight this team was putting up in the early weeks of the 2016 season. Yet they managed to win tonight, because they were getting by on a pristine starting pitching performance and a couple lucky breaks in relief...two things those same early weeks lacked.
It could have been the third win in a row for the Angels, but back-to-back wins against two non-pushover opponents isn't that bad, not bad at all.