It’s a cliche as old as they come, but that doesn’t make “misery loves company” any less true or on point; if you’re feeling miserable, a great way to feel better, at least temporarily, is to know that someone else is just as miserable as you. If you’re lucky, they’re even MORE bummed out!
You know it, I know it, we all know it. We’ve all been through those bouts of Angels misery, but one of the most annoying and gut-wrenching facets of frowny faced Angels failure is The Scorned Halos.
They could be traded away, or they could be just allowed to walk without so much as an offer; whatever their circumstance, and no matter how they performed in Anaheim, they suddenly become endless founts of talent, ESPECIALLY against the Angels, who they’ll now murder whenever they face each other, forever and ever. Mike Napoli, anyone? /shudders
Whenever Napoli came back to the Big A and drove in a handful of runs off of a couple homers and another extra-base hit (or some sort of stat line like that), I would feel physically ill. Now THAT is misery.
That’s why it was so satisfying and comforting to watch tonight’s game against the Orioles. They were watching Parker Bridwell cut down their hard-hitting lineup like a madman, just like he’s done for a lot of his starts in his 2017 season. After tonight, Bridwell is 6-1, and Baltimore, with their horrific rotation, traded him away for cash. FOR.CASH.
I’m sure there are plenty of Orioles fans that are despondent at worst, or scratching their heads at best. I’ve been in the head-scratching territory before; you wonder “where was THIS guy when he was in our system/on our team?!?!”. There’s no explaining it, really, other than feverishly typing “SCIOSCIA!!!!!!!” in a thread on Halos Heaven. Try it some time; it can be cathartic (but it still wont fully put you at ease when seeing events like Kendrys Morales hit a monster moonshot HR...in a Royals jersey).
Bridwell finished with a gorgeous line in the box score: 7.0 IP/ 6 H/ 1 R/ 1 ER/ 0 BB/ 4 K. He was efficient and fast-working as ever, breezing through those seven innings with 85 pitches and way ahead of schedule on the clock (compared to most home games, at least). That’s the type of performance that could make another team’s fan base have a collective ulcer form in the span of a couple hours on a Tuesday night.
Now, to be fair, they had Jeremy Hellickson on the mound tonight, and he was pitching like a stud, too. He was holding down the Halos’ bats just as well as Bridwell was to the Orioles, going 6.0 IP and giving up six hits and a season-high NINE Ks. Hellickson allowed just one run through the first six innings (C.J. Cron single in 2nd) , but when he hit the seventh, the Angels started hitting him.
Some solid hitting from Kole Calhoun and then Andrelton Simmons put two men on base, and then Luis Valbuena, in a redemption song for his atrocities committed at the plate in recent games, hit a big RBI double. That was then followed by a C.J. Cron soft arching liner getting into shallow left field, scoring Simmons. The game had been a nail-biting 1-1 for six intense innings, but the boys had broken it open. Angels were up 3-2 after seven.
Bridwell had done his job and done it very, very well tonight, and he did his best at holding the Orioles to just one run in seven innings. Luckily, the Halos did come through and hold up their end of the load, which opened the door for the bullpen to relieve Bridwell and send Baltimore back to the hotel for the evening.
The bullpen did indeed hold them...well, not before giving up a home run in the ninth. That dinger was served up by Keynan Middleton, making the game 3-2, but Key is going to get some slack because he ended up getting the save anyway. Oh, and it was his FIRST MLB SAVE of his career! Do your thing, Key! I’ve already forgotten about that homer.
This was a damn good game, with some great pitching and Halos heroics at the dish in the later innings; plus you had Mike Scioscia getting tossed because Albert Pujols got tossed, so there’s that. And there was the Middleton first save, the good night from Cron...and Parker Bridwell putting the Orioles through the blender over seven innings.
I understand, Baltimore fans. I really do. But man, it feels good to be on THIS side of that particular flavor of MLB anguish. I guess other teams get snakebit, too.