Angels 7 Rangers 4
The Angels had one more game against the Rangers tonight, and it was also the last of this ebullient, dominant homestand. This was the time for the Angels to step on the Rangers throats while looking eastward at their upcoming road trip opponents, mouthing the words “You’re next” while dragging their collective thumbs across their necks.
It was one last chance for the Angels to make an AL West statement.
Hector Santiago was our Halos starter for the evening, hot on the heels of a stellar 7 inning performance against the White Sox last week. The Hector we saw tonight was not that other Hector, though, as his night only lasted five innings and he gave up a few runs. But guess what? It didn’t matter!
The Angels once again unleashed their inner Krakens at the dish, scoring seven runs total and providing Santiago with the elusive run support for which the Angels’ pitchers are always desperately searching. Santiago was allowed to make his mistakes, however few they were, unlike in earlier games of this mercurial season. That’s how baseball is supposed to work, guys.
The offense came from plenty of different places, furthering the team’s loose, free wheeling vibe they seem to have cultivated in the post-All Star break world. The seven runs unloaded on the hapless marked the first time the Angels have scored 7+ runs in four consecutive home games since 2007. Wow.
Albert Pujols continued to be a source of wild-eyed joy, singling in a run in the first inning, and then not too long after him, Jefry Marte straight up slaughtered a three-run dinger, which traveled 455 feet to center field and put the Halos up 4-0 after just one frame.
Yunel Escobar drove in a couple runs himself, doing his best to help the team. He also made a really dumb base-running error on one of those RBI hits, doing his best to hurt the team. I have decided, though, that his production with the bat this season is of good enough quality for me to overlook all the other noise...like him failing to get the last out of the game at first base after he makes a bad throw. It’s close, though, believe me.
Andrelton Simmons also had himself a nice 2-4 night, continuing his evolution into an OK hitter, and of course he once again displayed an insane
arm cannon out their at SS, he just makes it look too damn easy. His defense reminds me of watching Lebron James play basketball; he’s good sized and athletic as all get out, but can move as quick as lightning.
Even after a bit of a stumble from the bullpen in the ninth, where the Rangers got one more run on the board via Ian Desmond homer, the good guys still got the win, the Halo was lit and they had themselves a six-game winning streak. They’ve also won 10 out of their last 12, going back to before the break and they’ve gained 8 games in the division race.
Really, they are on some kind of tear right now. On top of all the impressive factoids that have come out tonight, we also learned that that this is just the second time they’ve swept a homestand since 2004 (the other homestand was in 2014). This is the Halos firing on all cylinders, to almost everybody’s surprise, putting up 23 runs on their opponent in the process and making it fun to watch Angels baseball again.
With all of the injuries and adversity, and especially facing off the division leader, I didn’t expect to be here a few days/games later, gushing about their recent accomplishments. Here I am, though, unable to contain my amazement at the display of baseball we just saw at the Big A.
Now they hit the road, with more swagger than they’ve had in months, with red hot sticks and deadly arms, and dugout smiles abound. It’s Summer, the Angels are lit and life is good.