Tonight, you can see the new Star Wars movie in which a young (and possibly miscast) Han Solo will inevitably utter the famous line:
LAST NIGHT, the Angels were the ones saying that phrase - bu with their bats.
Just look at this win probably chart. (It’s geared toward the Blue Jays since they were the home team.)
When Ian Kinsler flew out to start the 9th inning, the odds of the Angels winning were 3,720 to 1. Okay, actually they chance of winning was a minuscule 3.8%. If you had turned off your TV at that point, no on could really fault you. BUT you would miss one hell of a comeback.
Mike Trout followed that up with a full count walk and it did little to move the needle. But the needle did move to a whole 9% chance of winning the game. Excited yet?? Trout’s stolen base to put him in scoring position moved the needle almost 1 percentage point to 9.9%. However, when Justin Upton also pulled off a full count walk, he became the tying run and suddenly the Angels had double digits odd at 16.8%. That was still not exactly a number that made you warm and fuzzy though.
Cue the RBI machine - Albert Pujols. One swing of his bat could tie up the game or put the Angels ahead. As much criticism as he gets, can you imagine Luis Valbuena in this spot? He’s flailing away for a home run 99% of the time. Pujols though was calm. Collected. He worked a walk to load up the bases. Boom. 28.3%. Much better odds but still down 2 runs. This was the THIRD full count walk in a row. That’s some serious discipline by Angels hitters.
Enter Shohei Ohtani. The kid only needs TWO pitches to tie up this ball game. Check out the pitch he hit to bring in Trout and Upton:
Shohei Ohtani, because 112 mph exit velocities and 449-foot home runs are not enough, tied the game in the 9th inning with a broken-bat single on a pitch in the right-handed batter's box. pic.twitter.com/XBfEVjMDjo— David Adler (@_dadler) May 24, 2018
That single swing of the bat moved the needle 39.8% all the way to a 68.1% chance - the highest odds the Angels had all game. Shohei Ohtani - the hero. But wait - there is more!!
Andrelton Simmons (hero #2) came up and knocked in Shohei Ohtani and Michale Hermosillo who was running for Pujols. 5-3 Angels. Ballgame? The Angels ended the top of the 9th with a 90.1% chance of winning the game. Even that Solo dude might be in on those odds.
Of course Blake Parker came in the game and we all thought he was getting better. Right? Wrong. A single, double, and a single made the game 5-4 and the Angels only had a 33.2% chance of winning the game. Parker wiped out nearly 57 percentage points in a few short minutes.
Kole Calhoun to the rescue!! He hasn’t been great with the bat, but Calhoun caught a ball for out #1 and used his ROCKET arm to throw out Granderson at home and preserve the 1 run lead with his league-leading 7th outfield assist. Calhoun tacked back on 52 percentage points with that one play. Clearly he had to share co-hero status with Simmons and Ohtani since that game was potentially over if he did not make that throw.
Thankfully, Parker ended the game with a strikeout just for good measure. It was wild, it was fun, but most of all - it was great to see the team play some excellent baseball for the first time in while - if even just for one inning.
The Angels had 9 hits in this game with a 3 hit night by Zack Cozart, and they also stole 3 bases. Tyler Skaggs has a 3.11 ERA after this game in which he gave up 2 home runs and struck out 6 over 5 innings. Justin Anderson logged his first major league win, Shohei Ohtani logged his first major league stolen base and Ian Kinsler went 0 for Ouch at the top of the order.