Tonight was do or die for the Halos. If they lost, it wasn’t like they were mathematically eliminated from getting a wild card spot, but with the Twins winning and the Rangers now right there in the mix with our guys, there was something in the air among Angels fans today...a menacing, foreboding sense that tonight, in Houston with Justin Verlander on the mound, would tell us whether or not this team was going to make it to the promised land.
This game would then play out just as one would expect: Verlander and Halos hurler Garrett Richards were duking it out, stymieing the opposition’s bats and providing fans back home with all the anxiety they can handle on a Friday evening in late September. The Angels managed to get ONE lone base hit against Verlander, because of course Verlander would pitch a gem. Garrett Richards would look great, and the Astros would be kept off of the board for most of the game, because of course this game would be scarily close.
Everything was going off of the script that many Halos fans had in their heads all afternoon; some of us knew it was destined to be either a gutsy, late-inning win or it would be a season-defining Buttercup. With Yusmeiro Petit on in relief in the seventh, we got our answer, unfortunately. With two men on, Petit gave up a towering shot to Yuli Gurriel, and as it sailed towards that stupid ass train in Minute Maid, Mike Trout and Justin Upton barely moved. They knew. The rest of the team knew. We all knew.
It was gone.
I’m talking about the ball leaving the field and putting three runs on the board, yes, but I’m also talking about the hope for a wild card spot that the Halosphere had clung so close to these last few weeks. Dead and gone. That’s it, folks.
Petit, after giving up that three-run, season-ending dagger, had given up 20% of his total runs allowed in 2017 in just his last two innings pitched. He was on pace to have the fifth lowest ERA since 2000 (min 90 IP) among American League pitchers prior to his last two innings. The decision to put him in will haunt this team and the fans all weekend long, at best, and all winter long, at worst. I’m not even in a space, mentally, where I can try to make heads or tails of the decision to take out Garrett Richards for Petit and not some other reliever, or to perhaps leave G-Rich in for another batter or two. I’m just too bummed out right now, the seething rage will come later (by “later”, I mean about 20 minutes from now).
Regardless, Petit was put in, and the once-reliable pitcher we saw all season long gave up the worst homer of the 2017 season, and the Angels would of course have no answer or comeback. They’d get a couple guys on in the ninth inning, sure, but Mike Trout would hit into a DP and then a Justin Upton pop fly would end the whole stupid affair.
It was all on the line, and the Angels gave us a Buttercup to remember instead of one of those unreal come-from-behind victories like we had fallen in love with over the last five months or so. It’s been real, dudes. I’m going to go cry into my mug of soda now, bye.