For the first five or six innings of this game, there was some straight up slop going on from both the Angels’ AND the Phillies’ pitching staffs. Nobody on the mound at the Big A could find the strike zone to save their lives; at least, that’s what it seemed like while it was going down, and the innings were going by as slow a super-stoned sloth.
Parker Bridwell was the Halos’ starter, and he wasn’t having that great of a time, either. Bridwell finished with a line of 5.0 IP/ 6 H/ 4 R/ 4 ER/ 3 BB/ 4 K, and while it doesn’t impress all that much, if it impresses anybody at all, it’s not like he totally pretzeled up his team beyond repair. All of the ugliness gleaned from Bridwell’s final stat line can be attributed to one bad inning...the second inning.
It was the second inning where he was doing his best out there, while also in the midst of an umpire that was not giving him any calls that flirted with the outside of the strike zone. Bridwell was getting squeezed, and the Phillies took advantage, tacking on all four of their runs they’d have at the end of the game, all in that unseemly second.
Bridwell would still hang in there and get his five innings, and the Phillies didn’t put another run on the board with him pitching; the Phillies didn’t put another run on the board against ANY Angels pitcher, to put a point on it.
After Bridwell was lifted, Cam Bedrosian, Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris combined for four innings of four-hit baseball (three of which were on Petit), allowing no runs, natch; so the Phillies were SOL for every inning that WAS NOT the second. With pitching like that, the Angels had the game in the bag...if the lineup showed up, fit for battle, that is.
It seemed like they were indeed prepared to go all hurtin’ crew on Philadelphia, with Mike Trout getting his 21st blizzy of the year in the first inning, a two-run uppercut and the Halos had the jump on their house guests. The bats would then go quiet a bit, or at least when it came down to the clutch moments (they finished 1-8 w/RISP), even and their first answer to the four-run counter they took on the chin in the second was to put up one solitary run on a Ramon Flores sac fly in the fourth.
To be fair, they may not have given themselves the easiest path to victory from the lineup side of things, but tonight, the Angels did more than enough from the pitching side of things, and they also showed some highlight reel defense. The mind-blowing moment was watching Kaleb Cowart lay out for a screaming grounder up the middle, then flipping to Andrelton Simmons, who dunks on everybody in Major League Baseball like it’s as easy as breathing, for the double play.
The Angels, with all of the cool ticks of this contest, were still down 4-3 heading into the eighth, but c’mon...it’s the Team of Destiny, and they’re the Philadephia Phillies. Dude, c’mon, get outta here with that ish.
Luis Valbuena got a walk, then Andrelton Simmons got his 26th double of the season. That was followed by a single from C.J. Cron, off of Phillies pitcher Luis Garcia, which would be enough to tie the game. Then, with Simba on 3rd, eyeing the plate like it was Scar and he was ready to become King of the Pride Lands, Garcia threw a wild pitch that sent Simmons racing. The play at the plate was close, but Simba got in under the tag, and the Angels had a 5-4 lead.
Bud Norris, tagged for a walk-off grand slam just a few games ago, was called upon to keep the game on lock down, and put the Phillies back on a plane to wherever they came from as quickly as possible. Bud Norris did exactly that...albeit with some heartattack moments here and there...but he did exactly that. More or less.
That’s a sweep, party people. That’s a pretty rad comeback win which clinched a sweep. This team is on a good roll right now, and they’re getting Skaggs, Calhoun and others back. They are ready to rumble, I do believe.