Angels 0 Astros 3
Two nights in a row, goose eggs on the scoreboard from the Halos, misery on couches and barstools across the southland, heads shook, pages angrily turned to the point of near-ripping from binding. Three games in a row, the pitching we wanted to see, strong outings, innings eaten with vigor, wasted and squandered by a lineup that literally COULD.NOT.LOSE just one week ago.
This is baseball. This is the sport, the team, we were going out of our minds waiting for, counting days and daydreaming of what the season would bring. Well, it has brought some amazing moments that we wont soon forget, and it has also brought this abhorrent, six-game free fall. This is baseball.
The Angels are, of course, stuck in that age old, cliched predicament wherein they have one problem plaguing their days and nights, while most other cylinders of the Angels engine are firing just fine. Then, the plagues are switched, Freaky Friday style, besetting a new corner of the roster while the formerly-limping section is now running in full stride.
Overlay that convoluted analogy on to the Halos, and you’ll see I’m talking about hitting and starting pitching. The team put up serviceable-to-studly run totals in games prior to this losing streak, including those gnarly comebacks, but the starting arms were not only getting shelled, but they couldn’t even finish six innings. Now, we’ve got a lineup that’s nary to be seen, and Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs and, tonight’s starter, Jesse Chavez, giving us great starts.
Jesse Chavez pitched seven complete innings tonight, only the second pitcher in ‘17 to do so (Skaggs was the other, in yesterday’s game), and he gave up seven hits, but only TWO runs (both earned) crossed the plate (oh, and he had a couple walks and FIVE strikeouts). Seriously, that’s a damn good start from Chavez, a guy that we were pretty worried about just a handful of days ago. Look at this line one more time:
7.0 IP 7 H 2 R 2 ER 2 BB 5 K
He also gave up ZERO DINGRZ!!!! All of this against the Astros, a team that has a half dozen bats, minimum, that could have feasted upon the Chavez we saw in his last start. Yet, he was a gamer tonight, not letting the game get away from him, and when he was in a tight jam that his arm couldn’t fix, the defense was right there behind him to pick him up.
Shoemaker’s last start was decent; not great, but a big step in the right direction. Skaggs’ start was HUGE, the exact type of performance we’d wanted to see, and we’re hoping to see. Chavez’s start tonight was AMAZING, given the context and what we’re expecting. This Jesse Chavez that faced the Astros tonight is the Jesse Chavez that could save the season. I can’t tip my cap enough to that guy right now.
Oh yeah, the offense didn’t do jack, by the way. I think I alluded to that earlier in this piece. Mike Trout had a good night, of course. He was 2-3, with a BB and a stolen base. Danny Espinosa and Martin Maldonado also chipped in with some singles (1-3 and 2-3, respectively). Yunel Escobar had a walk. THAT WAS IT. I just needed a couple sentences to talk about all of the Angels offense in this game.
Actually, I’d probably need one more sentence in there, where I mentioned that they had NINE guys left on base, and were 0-6 with runners in scoring position.
That is just grotesque and embarrassing. They had seven of those LOBsters in just the first three frames, adding even more excruciation to what would end up being their sixth L in six games.
That’s the story. One guy giving us reason to believe, giving us hope, while using some sweet pitching skills to fight back a tough division rival; one group of guys coming up short, multiple times, and looking like a bunch of flailing, arm-waving inflatable goofballs that should be tied to a cinder block in front of a used car dealership but instead are on a Major League Baseball team and they have bats in their hands.
Sorry, Jesse. You deserved better.
Will this team get both sides of the game going, at the same time, please? If so, could it please be soon?