Angels 7 White Sox 6
The Angels came in to tonight’s game with a two-game winning streak, the first time they’ve strung together a couple wins in a row since the last day of April and the first day of May. This evening at the Big A, in game two of this White Sox series, they had the chance to win three games in a row, something they haven’t done since April 26.
It sure seems like a lot longer, doesn’t it? Either way, they could really use some momentum, the kind you get from playing some new (to the Angels in 2017) opponents, the kind you can typically generate with just a handful of consecutive wins. With the game now wrapped up, I can definitely say there is some force building up within this Halos baseball dynamo.
This hot doggin’ Angels machine just needs the right motor and spark plug, or J.C. Ramirez and Cameron Maybin, respectively.
J.C. Ramirez had one of those starts again, where you have utmost confidence in him and that delicious fire he throws; where you think Billy Eppler really HAS gone and found a deadly starter in an afterthought reliever. He went 7.0 IP, and only gave up two runs on five hits. He only had a couple Ks, but he didn’t allow any walks, so that’s enough of a positive for me, right there.
Meanwhile, Cameron Maybin had his best game with his new club to date, as he went ........ The Angels had help from a few different places tonight, but Maybin chipping in as much as he did shows you a glimmer of what could be an MLB-best outfield; The glimmer is a potent Maybin, an ever-surging Calhoun and...well...Mike Trout.
They are, on most nights, about 2⁄3 of the way there, with KC and Trout doing the lifting but tonight was Maybin’s turn.
Editor’s note: As I got to this point in my writing, the Angels allowed the tying run to come across the plate.
OH, cool. The Halos had a 5-2 lead going into the top of the ninth, thanks to Maybin, Ramirez, and some great ABs from Martin Maldonado, Jefry Marte, Albert Pujols and Luis Valbuena. Nothing bad could ever happen tonight, in the top of the ninth, three outs from a three-game win streak, COULD IT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
What twisted, depraved voodoo was wielded against the Angels tonight, that turned the typically-reliable, as-of-late-on-friggin’-fire David Hernandez into a crinkled, slimy husk of his former badass self, prone to lighting the game on fire like it was a pile of books in a Ray Bradbury novel?!?!?
Hernandez had a nightmare inning, at least from my perspective as a fan. His experience was probably closer to a crippling night terror. But it wasn’t all his doing that unraveled the lead and allowed Chicago to tie the game up at 5-5. The Angels were just misfiring left and right on defense, it seemed.
The Angels’ sudden forgetting of both how to pitch and how to play baseball would lead to two White Sox players on base, and then Avisail Garcia hit a shot to the RF wall that Kole Calhoun must have thought was gone, because he misread it completely, letting it bounce off the wall, driving in a run and keeping two men on with not one out on the board yet. The score was 5-3.
The culmination of this particular flavor of Chicago deep dish Buttercup happened when Todd Frazier hit a super slow grounder towards second, but with how slow it was going, Jefry Marte was racing out to cut it off, Daniel Hernandez and Danny Espinosa going to first to try and cover. Marte would let the ball go under his glove, towards second, where there was NOBODY.
EXHALE, JOSH. REMAIN CALM. DO NOT PUT YOUR FIST THROUGH THE CHINA CABINET (AGAIN).
Editor’s Note: At this point, I had calmed back down, even though the Angels had just finished the bottom of the ninth and we were heading to extras. Such is life when you’re blogging the Angels
That was it. The game was tied, 5-5, all in glorious meltdown mode, where nothing could go right for this team, so it seemed. Hernandez was done after that, of course, but the damage had been done, to put it as mildly as humanly possible. Four hits, three earned runs, AND HE HADN’T EVEN GOTTEN ANYBODY OUT YET! Man, hopefully this is just a minor speed bump for Hernandez; he’d been so money recently.
The Angels went down in the fourth, that includes Maybin, Trout and Pujols. They had their opportunities for the prime movers to sling some biscuits into the rock pile, but their efforts were fruitless. We were heading to free baseball, but I still had the feeling I’d been robbed.
My faith would remain though; as we’ve learned this year, the Angels have comebacks for days, never forget that. I almost expected a comeback, in fact; such is life when you’re blogging the Angels.
Well, they’d either comeback or they’d find out a nauseating way to end up losing the game; in extras, it’s either one of the extremes.
Cameron Maybin would stand in for the official Nauseator In Chief, when a Yusmeiro Petit pitch was lobbed like a Buttercup grenade, up into the air, towards left field, set to explode with facepalming failure. The ball looked like it just barely snuck over the LF wall, and Cameron Maybin had tracked it all the way, at least it looked like he did, but he just sort of leaned back, and gave the smallest effort possible to reach up and grab it.
Even just “almost the smallest effort possible” would have had him catching the ball and robbing the homer. But he just did...nothing...it was weird. Mike Trout ran over and seemed to have a “Are you kidding me right now, with that half-assed bullshit?” face on, and I was right there with him; I could be projecting, but I do not care at this point.
Dejected, we headed to the bottom of the 11th, trying to muster up the courage to endure, to fight for our lives. When we needed that inspiration, we turned to Cameron Maybin. He went to bat with runners on first and second, one down, and in that at-bat, he would find redemption and a game-tying hit to shallow outfield that made the White Sox look as inept as the Halos. He would also find his first ever five hit game of his MLB career.
From The Man, to The Ostracized to The Hero. This Game was a true journey for Maybin. There was till work to be done, though. With Ben Revere still on base, Albert Pujols came to the plate and with two down and two strikes on him, he hit a frozen rope to centerfield, and as the ball literally nailed the CF in the head, Revere scored the game-winning run and the Angels nailed Chicago to the wall.
This was a game of Homeric proportions; we witnessed the journey of these Angels through trials and battles and the edges of sanity and beyond, and finally, as they went home with the walk-off, hard-fought victory, we all heard those three magical words that every fan wants to hear at the end of a journey like tonight’s: Drive. Home. Safely.