Angels 2 Royals 3
That one was within reach, which is probably why it hurt more than last night’s drubbing...and why it hurt more than the two Texas butt kickings...if you’re counting at home, that is indeed four losses in a row. Four tough Angels baseball outings, but this one was there for the taking, until the Angels’ 2018 third baseman launched a Jose Alvarez ball into kingdom come.
Before we get to that point, let’s run down the hiccups and miscues that lead to that ill-fated bottom of the 8th. The Halos had Matt Shoemaker on the bump this evening, and yes, this seems obvious to say, but they really needed a good start from him.
The team, and also the fans, desperately need to see someone, ANYONE, have a commanding presence out there, if only to lessen the heavy worries that the starting arms are beginning to bear.
Shoemaker didn’t exactly deliver on that crucial necessity, because he only went 5.1 IP before getting lifted from the game, but the good news is we can still chalk this one up as a good start from The Cobbler.
Shoemaker had a rough go in the first, when he got into a jam and then gave up an RBI single to Eric Hosmer. But he got out of the frame without any more damage, but thanks to an Albert Pujols groundout in the top that scored a run, the Hosmer hit only evened things up on the scoreboard.
It was looking like things were going to go down the familiar, slap-to-the-face road that the previous three losses traveled, but Shoemaker buckled down after the 2nd, and he began to more or less cruise through the KC lineup in the 3rd and 4th innings.
It was only in the fifth, with one out on the board, that he gave up a weak, barely-touched dinger to Brandon Moss, and not only did the Royals have a 2-1 lead, but Shoemaker would soon be riding the pine.
Nope, he didn’t get past the 6th, and yeah, he allowed yet another homer (that was the 19th given up by the Halos in ‘17, and they’d give up one more later on, now making it 20, which leads the league, /sadtrombone), but he showed some good control out there, and for a little bit, he was looking like the stone cold killer Cobbler we saw for most of 2016. Maybe it’s just going to take some time for him to get to that gnarly level of play, but we got a taste tonight...now, I want some more.
The Angels did tie things up with a nice Ben Revere single to right field in the top of the 7th, and you had Bud Norris and Blake Parker shutting down the home team, so things were looking up and it seemed like they’d be able to pull out a victory and stop the AL West standings bleeding, but then Jose Alvarez gave up a monstrous home run to Mike Moustakas and that was all she wrote.
As our very own Chase Kimura would say...or at least, you’ll see him say soon enough (Monday, you’ll see)...Moustakas is going to be the Angels’ third baseman next season, and it’ll be awesome. How awesome? Well, remember that home run he hit against Alvarez? Well, he’ll be doing that, only for the Angels! I think I’m jumping on Chase’s Moose-drawn bandwagon now, yep.
The Royals got a 3-2 advantage with that Moustakas blizzy, and they would end up losing 3-2. So close to a victory on the road, so narrowly did they miss an opportunity to right the ship, so much pain in my brain when they found a way to let it slip out of their grasp.
There were chances, too, by the way. They had their time for heroes, and they came up looking like zeroes. They had two innings in a row where they had guys in scoring position, and neither situation produced any runs for the Angels. Or rather, the Angels produced no runs in either situation, is more like it.
Especially Albert Pujols, who was up with the bases loaded, full count, two outs, and he sat and stared at a 93 MPH fastball right down the middle. Albert being Albert.
Tie game, seventh inning, two men on, two outs, full count. Albert takes this pitch, just stared at it. pic.twitter.com/0wMP4cLNBD— Halos Heaven (@halosheaven) April 16, 2017
There were chances, and those chances were squandered. Eight men left on base, in a game THAT close, that ended up being decided by a Mike Moustakas dinger in the 8th. The Angels should have won this won, and we should be talking about the good night from Shoemaker, and the encouraging appearances by Blake Parker and other bullpen pieces. But instead, we’re talking about the fourth loss in a row, and how the Halos buttercupped themselves.
Oh well...next year, Mike Moustakas will be on the good team, so we wont have to see such horrible, Moose-powered home runs hit against our guys. Right? Now, if they can just figure out that whole starting pitching thing.