This is getting to be so, so redundant. As a writer, I enjoy giving my thoughts, opinions or personalized recap on games or baseball happenings that I don’t see that often, or that I have never seen at all. That’s the fun part of the job, as a fan, and as a writer, it is the easiest, because the inspiration I get from seeing something amazing or unique will take over, causing my fingers to fly around the keyboard and next thing I know, the article is done.
The Angels bullpen this season, especially the last week or so, has been the opposite of that blogging phenomenon. At this pace, I’m going to be at a loss for words, which is rare for me. The bullpen, though, has wrung out every drop of excitement or freshness in my words, and instead has made me into a broken record.
That’s because there are too many games that have the same script: Angels have a lead, then Mike Scioscia makes the call for a reliever or two or three, and one of those relievers, if not many or all of them, will subsequently blow the game up like it’s a gas station that a bored teenager happens to come across while playing Grand Theft Auto V. How many times can I, or the rest of the Halos Heaven staff, write about the same thing? Well, seeing as how the Halos’ bullpen was a problem coming into the 2018 season, and they’re currently tied for the MLB lead in the blown saves category, it appears we’re going to find out.
The thorny topic among Angels fans coming out of this ghastly, 11-inning series finale is the issue of whether Scioscia screwed up royally by taking Andrew Heaney, today’s starter, out of the game after eight innings and giving the call to the ‘pen. When the ninth had rolled around, the Angels had a 5-3 lead that was built around Heaney’s solid day on the mound; he’d finish with 8.0 IP, giving up a mere three hits to the A’s, three runs (all earned) and eight Ks.
Yep, the guy who just threw an amazing complete game shutout two starts ago, on his birthday, was still feeling the good vibes and was totally partying out there, giving up those three runs on just three hits, one coming on a two-run homer and the other on a sac fly. Oh, and of those eight strikeouts, three of them had just come from the eighth frame, when he struck out the side.
Heaney was at 106 pitches, sure, but it still doesn’t seem like a hard decision to make. You’ve got a guy that just K’d three batters in the eighth, and who was keeping the A’s offense stifled, and the alternative was putting in someone from one of MLB’s worst group of relievers. Seems like you’ve got to roll with the guy that got you to that point, if you’re interested in taking a series win, at least. But nope, Scioscia gave the nod to Blake Parker, who gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, followed by a walk, then a strikeout, then a wild pitch, then another walk, then another strikeout.
At this point, Cam Bedrosian was called to come on, with two down and two on, and he gave up the game-tying single to the first batter he faced. So let’s just add that Parker decision to a list of moves we can question and gripe about til we’re passed out later this evening. It was just one of those days. The Angels kept fighting off the Athletics for a bit, but ultimately, in the 11th, they got into yet another jam and this time it was relievers Jake Jewell and Eduardo Paredes who teamed up to both put the A’s in scoring position and then let them drive in the walk-off run.
This bullpen, man. This team has so much to be stoked on, but far, far too often in 2018 the bullpen drags those facets down into the muck and makes the whole squad a bummer. We forget about the good things that may have happened in the game, like Albert Pujols having a couple nice hits, including his 11th homer of the year, or Mike Trout getting on base five times without the help of an error (two hits, two walks and a HBP). OK, so maybe we don’t forget the Trout stuff, because who can forget the awesome Trout stuff, right?! But still! You get my point. For your sake, and mine, I wish you didn’t get my point, but sadly...you do.
I’m out of pages to turn, I think. Anybody got a page I can borrow? I’m gonna need a bunch more of ‘em.