Luis Valbuena is his name. He was widely considered to be the most savvy splash that Billy Eppler made in the low key offseason, a good bat who could play multiple positions (and play them well), thus opening up all sorts of roster options for Eppler & Co. to mull over.
The season began, and we didn’t see much of Luis Valbuena. Where was he? He would sometimes be on the field, in uniform, but then again...was he REALLY? There were many days and nights that he was missing and I knew it was due to injury, but there were other times when he was missing, and I knew he was still in the lineup, right there on my TV, in fact! But was he REALLY?
His average was well below the Mendoza Line before All Star break, and now we’re over a month past All Star break and his average is still pretty gross, but he has been hitting dingers. Ten dingers, to be specific, since the All Star break. For awhile, that’s basically all he was hitting, though, but lately, Luis Valbuena has finally appeared; I’m talking about the winter offseason daydreaming Luis Valbuena, idealized in our heads and making the team a force to be reckoned with.
FINALLY. That Luis Valbuena is here, at the Big A, this very week.
Last night, he delivered a big time RBI single, something he’s been making more of a habit lately. To put an exclamation point on Valbuena’s rising star status among the Halosphere, he went HAM tonight against the Rangers. Actually, that’s even kind of an understatement. Valbuena was responsible for four of the five Angels runs, including three that came off of, yes, a home run. He even added some slick D at the hot corner, just to show off, it seemed.
Valbuena provided some real exciting, shiny stuff to keep us Halos fans entertained and amused, which was really a public service, considering we had to watch Andrew Heaney get knocked around in his second game back from Tommy John Surgery. It wasn’t brutal, but it wasn’t easy on the eyes, either. 5.0 innings, in which he gave up eight hits and four runs, all earned. “How were they earned, Josh?”, you probably just said out loud.
Well, would it surprise you to learn that they came off of THREE home runs? No? Good. That means you’ve been paying attention this year. Yep, Heaney gave up one in the second, one in the third and another in the fourth. Five innings, four runs, three jacks, two palms, one face.
You know what, though? It was OK, because we had LUIS VALBUENA: GOOD BASEBALL GUY doing his best video game impression, putting up all of the Halos’ runs and for awhile, things were at a 4-4 stalemate...all the way to the ninth inning, even, where the Rangers looked like they were going to put the Angels on the hot seat in the bottom of the side, as they had the bases loaded, two down.
Then this happened:
THAT'S THE MVP RIGHT THERE. THAT'S THE MVP AND DON'T YOU EVER DARE SAY OTHERWISE. UNREAL. pic.twitter.com/Qf487WtxYL— Halos Heaven (@halosheaven) August 24, 2017
That play nearly brought a tear to my eye, to be honest, but I held it back.
I would still end up crying in this game, though, don’t get me wrong. It just wasn’t until the 10th inning, when the Halos, and reliever Eduardo Paredes, saw the game slip away with run after stupid Rangers run. Three of them, in fact, were allowed by Paredes in the top of the 10th, which is bewildering considering how well Paredes had performed in recent appearances. Tonight, he was not in the zone at all. Three hits, three runs, two walks, in one inning.
That was the end of it, people. The Halos will have a chance to split this 4-game series tomorrow, but they won’t have the series win. Luis Valbuena could only do so much, and Mike Trout can only pull so many rabbits out of his defensive hat. Turn the page? Ok, turn the page.