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Unlikely Heroes (Pujols, Cron, Bridwell) Salvage the Series, Avoid Sweep

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Parker Bridwell gave us a chance to win, and CJ Cron delivered.

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Cron! Saw one pitch, drove in two runs. I like it.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Angels 4, Rays 3

In the first game of the post-Danny Espinosa era, the Halos pick up the W. .479 winning percentage with Espinosa on the roster, 1.000 without him. I see a clear correlation here.

The Angels hadn’t gotten a hit with RISP this series, and after the first inning, it didn’t seem like anything was going to change today. Against Chris Archer, a very talented, All-Star pitcher, Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, and Yunel Escobar all reached base, but Andrelton Simmons struck out swinging. That happened a lot today, as Archer had 9 punchouts in 6 innings of work. The first two also reached in the 4th, but Luis Valbuena (still in the lineup after two homers last night) grounded into a double play to kill the rally.

The 5th inning started in a similar fashion, but when Calhoun and Trout struck out, we were suddenly 0-for-thenumberofDannyEspinosaKsthisyear in RISP situations in the series. Albert Pujols then lived up to his “clutch” moniker, dumping a single into right and cashing in a run.

In the 6th, with Simmons on 3rd and one out, Martin Maldonado hit a poor bunt right at Archer, who flipped home, getting Simmons by about 6-7 feet. Or at least, the throw beat Simmons by 6-7 feet. Jesus Sucre inexplicably lifted his glove (which had been right under the dirt), allowing Simmons to slide under the tag and score the Angels’ second run.

The lead would not last. In the 7th, Logan Morrison did. This.

Complete with bat flip and all. It was gorgeous. And also an obligatory HR. I love how the bat lands off the screen.

Jumbo Diaz tried to keep the game tied for the Rays. After Simmons singled, the manager went to the bullpen, bringing in Adam Kolarek. Now, I’ve watched Kolarek throw two pitches, and I’m convinced he’s worse than Alvarez. The last time he pitched, when they showed him in the bullpen, he missed badly with a pitch to the catcher’s right. After he came into the game, he hit Calhoun with the first pitch right there. Today, he was brought in to face Valbuena, who is suddenly scary to opposing managers. Mike Scioscia threw a dart at a board and hit CJ Cron, who promptly banged a 2-run HR into right (probably aided by the daylight, as it just got out, but no matter).

Bud Norris made things interesting in the 9th, but he ultimately slammed the door shut. This team is now 3 games under .500, and I’ll need some more results before believing, but for at least two, we put up a semi-decent ballgame.

1-0 since Danny Espinosa was DFA’d. And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

Poll

Panther of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    CJ Cron
    (79 votes)
  • 30%
    Parker Bridwell
    (63 votes)
  • 4%
    Mike Scioscia (I suppose we ought to give him credit)
    (9 votes)
  • 23%
    Danny Espinosa (for being DFA’d)
    (50 votes)
  • 4%
    Andrelton Simmons
    (9 votes)
210 votes total Vote Now