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Angels dig themselves out of seven-run hole only to lose 11-7 on Indians walk-off grand slam

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This had everything that a great 2017 Team of Destiny game should have...except for the winning part.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Angels 7 Indians 11

When the Angels beat the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox on Sunday, clinching the triumphant (and desperately needed) series win, they had little time to soak in their feat of trolling the trolls, of being the deliverers of delicious comeuppance to my least favorite sports team in all the sporting world.

Nope, the Halos knew there was a two-town road trip coming up, and the first city they’d stop in would provide no respite. A little bit of preening and hollering in the clubhouse, maybe some prestige television with the family at home, or whatever tiny piece of calm they could carve out for themselves before getting right back in the thick of the Team of Destiny mindset.

The aura of some winning momentum was in the air, which we’d yet to really see since the boys came back from ASG break, and the Halos made their way to Cleveland with thoughts of putting another American League division leader on notice. Yep, it’s nearly August and the Indians are still in first place; what a time to be alive.

Mike Clevinger was the Indians’ starter for the evening, who you’ll always remember as a pitcher the Angels traded away when he was younger and is now someone they wish they had on their roster (and if you don’t remember, someone will remind you, most likely). The Angels had Jesse Chavez as the man for the job on their end, and right from the outset, fans quickly realized that they’d better buckle up and get ready for a wild, crazier-than-a-soup-sandwich ride.

How did Jesse Chavez’s night go? Well, let’s see...in the second inning, he walked two guys in a row, then got an out, then walked three more batters, then he gave up a grand slam to Bradley Zimmer, and then he gave up a solo dinger to Michael Brantley and the Indians were up 7-0. Yeah, that about gives the gist of his night. After two innings and a Jesse Chavez disaster, the Halos were down seven runs and it was looking like an early DOA.

Then, the 2017 Team of Destiny Angels appeared and shit got real. I’m sure I’m not alone in the Halosphere when I say that Kole Calhoun’s three-run jack off of Clevinger quickly made me realize this wasn’t going to be a blowout; this was going to be one of THOSE games...the #ToD games. It was 7-3 and I knew that we were in store for some damn good Tuesday entertainment; the Team of Destiny is pretty predictable, but in the very best way possible.

The Angels weren’t even done scoring in that third inning, as Luis Valbuena got in on the action as he hit a ball off of the Indians’ second baseman and into the outfield, scoring Andrelton Simmons. The Angels had already climbed from that 0-7 hole and made it a three-run ballgame.

Speaking of Simmons, he continued to flaunt his bat skillz once again, going 3-3 with two runs scored and a couple walks; so Simba got on base FIVE times tonight, his batting average inching towards .300 (he’s now at .297) and he’s also now sporting an OPS of .802. Oh, and he made a siiiiiick tag at second at one point, and he made an even siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicker play on a grounder at another point. He’s a baseball god.

The Halos’ bullpen has been quite studly, as you all know, and tonight they continued to pack quite the powerful relief pitching punch. Their job was, as always, extremely simple and also extremely daunting: All they had to do was keep the other team from scoring, while their guys made their comeback. This bullpen, though, came to play.

Keynan Middleton, Jose Alvarez, Yusmeiro Petit, Blake Parker, and David Hernandez picked up Jesse Chavez’s slack after he was taken out of the game (2.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K), and combined to keep Cleveland at bay.

Meanwhile, the Angels’ bats were hitting like they were in a fight to the death, with Luis Valbuena hitting his second important knock of the night, this time a huge, two-run blizzy. The Halos were then within one run, and it was Yunel “Tha God” Escobar, swinger of the biggest bat in MLB, who got the glory and adulation that accompanies a crucial, game-tying hit. His was a double, off of Cleveland reliever Nick Goody, and the ballgame that was once a seven-run, infuriating bummer was now tied at 7-7. Baseball is crazy, right?

Sadly, it’s crazy in many ways, not all of them beneficial or preferred by us Angels fans. All of the accroutrements of a dope, thrilling Team of Destiny comeback win were there, so why am I still feeling so deflated? Oh yeah, that’s because the Angels didn’t win. Wait, that can’t be right.

OK, so it IS true...the Halos, after all of that battling and clawing to get the game knotted up, ended up losing in 11 innings. They had chances, both when the game went to extras and when they were in regular play, the lineup finishing the contest 2-8 with runners in scoring position. Perhaps the hardest RISP failure to swallow, though, was Albert Pujols, who had a man on third, two down, in the top of the 11th, and proceeded to ground out, because of course he did!

That was when reality started sinking in, that this was a total ToD misdirect game; a devilishly clever Buttercup that would make us howl with laughter if it were happening to any other team. Instead, it was happening to ours, and we got to see Pujols flounder in the hero role, and then Bud Norris give up a walk-off grand slam in the ensuing bottom of the 11th.

Game over. Angels lose. False alarm, everybody. False alarm. Please excuse me now while I go to the mirror in the bathroom and question myself as to whether or not this is really happening, or I just had a very long, very lucid and very sad hallucination.