It wasn’t a blowout when I started this, but it got one-sided in a hurry.
Nicholas Tropeano, who hadn’t pitched since July of 2016, took the ball for the Angels today and made the opponents look like bad hitters. It obviously helped that they have been bad hitters this season with the Royals near the bottom of the leaderboards in most offensive statistics. Thanks to NiTro, they now look even worse.
Tropeano dealt for 6.2 innings and brought promise and hope to a rotation that has looked like the weakest link in the chain thus far. He scattered a few singles and an extra base hit, but commanded the slightly wide strike zone well. For a player who struggled in his most recent season with the free pass —actually for the whole Angels pitching staff that has struggled with walks—, this game was incredibly encouraging as he only allowed two walks.
Most importantly, he brought some length to a game and gave much-needed rest to a bullpen that has been taking on innings like a starter. That bullpen did allow a run, but even Royals fans probably don’t care.
The other player making a statement fresh off the DL was Ian Kinsler. Just two pitches into the game, he mashed a pitch off the revitalized Ian Kennedy into the left field stands to give the Angels a lead they would not relinquish. Kole Calhoun then extended his hit streak with a 2-run single to give the Angels some breathing room in what was then a tight game.
And then Ohtani. I mean, who else?
He strode to the plate with the bases loaded after some lucky breaks and sent a pitch into the gap for a clear double. Of course, this is the candidate who will make Trout the MVP runner-up in 2018, so he stretched it into a triple and made it look easy for good measure. Absolutely ridiculous.
Of course Trout had something to say about it as he had 2 infield singles, a walk, and sent a pitch from Maurer over the wall in deep right-center. With that solo shot, he became the first Angel in history to hit a home run in the first 5 series of a season.
Tomorrow, the Angels will send their third consecutive pitcher making his season debut and expect to continue their blowout streak and secure a minimum of a split series against our old favorite launching pad, Jason Hammel.