Arlington, Texas. Nothing good has ever happened in Arlington, Texas. It’s a sad thing, then, that the Angels are made to play some baseball games there every season. Even worse, some of those games take place in the month of September, when the Angels are in the midst of a playoff chase. This weekend, we’re spending the first few days of September watching the Halos play the Rangers, all while trying to keep up in the hunt for a Wild Card spot.
When it comes to Arlington’s levels of suckiness, tonight’s nationally-televised square dance was definitely Worst Case Scenario-adjacent. It would take a team with a set of big, round, lucky, magical beans in their pants (their pockets, of course!) and an unkillable attitude to counter all of the darkside mojo that accompanies the Rangers and the suburban hell gate known as Arlington.
In other words, the Angels had their work cut out for them in tonight’s game two of this three-game weekend series, but if any team could stroll into Globe Life, in a meaningful, September game, it’s the Team of Destiny.
Ricky Nolasco was as predictably meh as you most likely expected; he gave up his obligatory home run (Carlos Gomez in the 2nd, which made it a 2-0 Rangers lead) ,and pitched an OK five innings, in which he’d give up three runs off of five hits. Those five innings not only saw that home run, but it also had Nolasco walking three batters and striking out six. Weird ratio, but this is Ricky Nolasco we’re talking about here.
Jesse Chavez came in for Nolasco, and in the seventh inning we saw him get busted up a little bit, mainly by himself, though. It was a walk, and then a single, and then another walk, that put him in a jam that allowed a ground out from Nomar Mazara to actually put a run on the board. He would K Carlos Gomez in the next AB, but he had already left his dubious mark on this game. We had been seeing a really good Jesse Chavez lately, too, so that little jackpot he set off was a head-scratcher.
At that point, it was 4-2 Rangers; the two Halos runs coming from Albert Pujols driving in Mike Trout in both the fourth and the sixth inning. Pujols has 10 RBI in the last three games, which is obviously a reaction to fivethirtyeight’s widely-read diss. Right? Either way, give the old man a hand.
The Angels were still in the game, but they’d need to kick things into gear and get to their post-game article wrecking ball ways if they were going to snatch this one out of the jaws of defeat, like the Team of Destiny 2017 Angels are wont to do.
Win Probability, meet C.J. Cron. C.J. Cron, meet Win Probability.
Don’t play that video right away. You need to let your eyes really drink in the graphics in the lower right corner. TOP OF THE NINTH. TWO OUTS. DOWN 4-2. The Rangers play the uplifting, iconic theme from The Natural every single time a Rangers player hits a home run. Talk about taking an exceptionally emotional musical cue and running it into the ground, making it totally commonplace, void of any greater meaning.
If the Rangers were wanting a real life Roy Hobbs moment, where they could hit that play button and imagine sparks falling down over a flickering infield, then they really should have busted that out for C.J. Cron’s game-tying bomb in the top of the ninth. Two outs, one on, and Cron took a 4-seamer and cranked a line drive dinger that stunned the crowd, upset the FS1 execs who wanted the channel to flip over to NCAA football, and drove all the Angels fans across the world absolutely wild.
We were tied up, the Team of Destiny had done it once again. UN. REAL. (I apparently can’t say that enough about this team, because they’ll just make me do it again a few days later). The Rangers didn’t score in the bottom of that frame and we were going to extras. Wow. A record-setting nine-inning game last night, and an extra-inning battle tonight. Yep, it’s September baseball.
The Angels were just chilling out, pulling the old rope-a-dope, and decided it was time to unleash the fury in the top of the tenth. The Rangers could really get a lot of the praise here, actually, as Texas reliever Jose Leclerc walked Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols, loading the bases up before getting lifted for a new Rangers reliever. They tried to stop what was coming, but with the bases juiced and no outs on the board, the writing was on the wall.
They realized right then that they were the latest victims of the insanely gutsy and glorious 2017 Angels, the TEAM OF DESTINY. Kole Calhoun drove a ball to left field, putting Upton and Trout across the plate and then a C.J. Cron sac fly added one more. The Angels had pulled it off...ANOTHER ONE. The comeback was complete and the road warrior Halos were up 7-4.
The Rangers had nothing in the bottom of the tenth, and we all knew they were going to have nothing. They tried to fend off an onslaught from a swarm of angry wasps, but no matter how much they tried to cover up, they got stung from some other direction. The Angels stung and stung until the Rangers dropped; have you ever seen a team this tenacious? How many hearts and spirits have they broken, chewed up and spit out this year?
Yep, I love it, too. Tomorrow, they go for the series win. They’ve got them reeling, now throw that haymaker.