The Angels and their fans can breathe a sigh of relief. When the team came into this Baltimore series, they had just left Washington, where the Nationals killed their six-game winning streak. Yet, they were still able to split that two-game set, only to then go into Camden Yards on Friday night and lose on their THIRD walk-off grand slam of the month (and the season).
That type of rockiness was nowhere to be seen last week, when they were shredding through their opponents and racking up wins...and securing a Wild Card spot. I perhaps got a little too used to this team making mince meat out of the other guys, and a loss on a Tuesday and a loss on a Friday seemed like they were slipping. They weren’t, though. That’s the funny thing.
The Angels came into today’s series finale having won 14 out of their last 20 games. Two of those came in the last four games alone. So it’s quite silly to be looking at those Nationals and Orioles losses as anything other than tiny little glitches in an otherwise stellar run. That’s why I wasn’t really worried at all that Baltimore would have a tough time today against our dudes; I was even LESS worried when I remembered that Parker Bridwell was today’s starter.
That’s money in the bank, yo.
Bridwell did his best to look like the ex-significant other who shows up to the other ex’s house party, only they’re now in the best shape of their life, looking better than ever while talking about some new six-figure-salary job that they just started. He did that recently, when the Orioles played in the Big A, but Parker was back at that “Pitching well is the best revenge” mindset this afternoon, too.
Until the sixth inning, at least. Before that frame, Bridwell had been holding it down, keeping the birds to only one run, and that was off of a Chris Davis solo shot in the third. Considering the insane amount of dingers that both teams have hit so far in this series, though, a HR was to be expected. The Angels were still getting theirs, too, of course.
Kole Calhoun had a jack early in the game that put the Halos on the board early, and then in the top of the third, Albert Pujols drove home Ben Revere on a single and that gave Parker Bridwell a 2-0 lead, so that’s always nice. Of course, then that Davis homer happened, and we were at a 2-1 affair but still. This game was boding well for our fellas.
Andrelton Simmons only served to ramp up my confidence by hitting a two-run blizzy in the top of the sixth, putting the Angels up 4-1, and with the bullpen firepower they’ve shown for most of the year, they had a pretty good shot from that point on at walking away from Baltimore with a series win. They’d have to get through that cantankerous sixth inning, though. Easier said than done.
Bridwell was starting to show some cracks, having longer ABs than he normally likes, and the Orioles got a couple singles and an error from Cliff Pennington, which loaded up the bases and put some serious pressure on the Halos’ starter. Jonathan Schoop served as the party pooper, as he singled in a couple runs, put the home team closer with a 4-3 score, and knocked Bridwell out of the game. A rougher inning than we’re used to seeing from Parker Bridwell, and his day would end with a 5.0 IP/ 6 H/ 4 R/ 2 ER/ 1 BB/ 3 K line in the box score.
Keynan Middleton would come in for relieft, and would have a little trouble, as well. He gave up a ground-rule double to Mark Trumbo before the Halos would get out of the side, but the Orioles had tied the game up 4-4. We had a tied-up ballgame and now it was time for the Angels to either walk away bummed out, or shake it off and pull some heroics out of the depths of their souls, then flying back to Anaheim like a bunch of bosses.
This is the Team of Destiny we’re talking about here, so you already know they chose to do the latter. It was Cameron Maybin playing the hero today, he of the recent nagging injury that's kept him from some maximum playing time, would come through huge with a clutch, pinch-hit RBI that put the Angels up 5-4 in the top of the eighth inning.
Today, there would be no calamitous, walk off grand slams that would make us all regret having ever loved watching the angels in the first place. Nope. They sealed the deal on this one and didn't look back in the 8th or 9th and the angels picked up a nice Series win and capped off a little east coast roadie in a positive way.
The Halos are kicking some ass still in August, so hopefully they’ll keep it rolling with this big, 10-game homestand they start up this week. We’re coming into the final stretch, and this team is poised to do some damage.