Angels 5, Orioles 1
It is during the darkest hour when you truly need a hero to step up. Tonight, and for most of the past six years, that hero has been Mike Trout.
You all saw what happened yesterday. The tragedy that was written in the stars played out the exact same way, and Manny Machado crushed spheroids into the atmosphere.
Mike Trout watched all of that happen. He watched the stars, he watched the tide of momentum turn against him, and he watched morale drop. And he chose to do something about it.
So Saturday, he took one pitch from Kevin Gausman and launched the second one he saw, a fastball on the inner half, into the stratosphere.
Boom. 1-0 Angels.
JC Ramirez was effectively wild on the bump in the bottom half on the inning, and “effectively” accurately describes how wild he was. Somehow he managed to give up a run on a wild pitch before recording a single out, walked another guy, and emerged from the inning with the score still tied.
There was Luis Valbuena, who, although probably not an Angel leader, decided he wanted to do something about the tragedy as well. He launched one and now supports this line since the AS Break:
His slash line .... .229/.286/.671 ... .957 OPS.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) August 20, 2017
That is hard to do.
Trout wouldn’t stand for that and decided that he didn’t always have to crush fastballs. Breaking balls were available for the picking as well:
Mike Trout's 2nd homer of the night had the Orioles outfield all "I go-...nahhhhh". Ball was CRUSHED. pic.twitter.com/QXjrkgfb0n— Halos Heaven (@halosheaven) August 20, 2017
Valbuena decided to show up the GOAT (not that I’m complaining), and he hit a TWO-run blast in the 4th. 5-1 Angels. For those keeping score at home, that was four straight innings of homers for the Halos. They nearly made it five. With the bases loaded in the 5th, Martin Maldonado unloaded on a baseball, and it went about 2 feet above the wall in left-center. Unfortunately, Seth Smith’s glove was also there, and he made a nice play to keep the score as it was.
JC Ramirez was doing his thing, twirling that gem, even without a K3yerout, until he had to leave in the 6th inning after covering first:
JC Ramirez left the game with right forearm irritation. #Angels— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) August 20, 2017
Yeah...not good folks. Recall that this is his career high in innings pitched at the major league level and that Matt Shoemaker is out for the season with something eerily similar. JC helped us get the win tonight, but at what cost?
Rest of the game was smooth and eventful, as if the baseball gods were tired of writing impossible miracles and decided to have the ending of a game follow the percentages (sounds crazy, amirite!?!?!?).
Eduardo Paredes threw 1.1 innings of solid ball; Scioscia played with fire by bringing in Bud Norris for the 8th, but other than a scorching line drive by Machado, Norris looked surprisingly...good.
And as we’ve clambered for all along, Blake Parker pitched the ninth, striking out two in the process.
Interestingly enough, the original home plate umpire left in the second inning after being struck by a foul ball off Maldonado’s bat, so they were working with a three-man crew. The replacement behind the plate proceeded to employ the same small strike zone, except when deciding to ring Trout up (for whatever reason). Umps. Can’t understand ‘em.
The Halo shines tonight, and order is restored in the world. The Angels keep a share of a postseason spot, and we live to fight on another day. #tod
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