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The Angels complete the final ritual in 7-4 loss and become a full-fledged member of the Order of the Tank

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LAA asks the Diamondbacks for assistance with their 2018 self-immolation and Arizona is more than happy to oblige.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Calhoun, JMF, and Valbuena bowing their heads out of respect for the Great Tank
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Angels returned to Anaheim today, the proud proprietor of a 1-6 record over the previous 8 days, and made good on their oath to maintain this trend of decay. The Angels higher-ups may not have outright claimed it and they may not ever, but it is apparent that the sweep at the hands of the Mariners has driven them to embrace the

Wikimedia Commons

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not necessarily a good thing. It is what it is: expected in the face of what was an 8-game deficit in the race for the 2nd Wild Card. Maybe it isn’t fair and maybe it makes for some crappy games ahead, but it only makes sense.

I’m sure that the Angels fought the peer pressure of the A’s and the Twins and the Blue Jays as best they could, but after Trout was caught stealing in the first inning, what was even the point? They were already down 2-0 thanks to a Paul Goldschmidt who should be pitched to exactly as often as Mike Trout right now (Nil).

So the Angels have begun to prepare for next year as is customary in the Order of the Tank. They’ll continue to ride arms that even a mother has a difficult time loving like Akeel Morris and Eduardo Paredes. They will continue to test the top prospects of AAA and AA out at the highest level (which is actually something that most of us look forward to). They will continue to try and accumulate value from Ian Kinsler and other potentially valuable assets.

There is an end game though.

It cannot be stressed enough how vital it is to remind oneself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Jo Adell is probably the most outstanding prospect this organization has had since Trout and is already slaying the tier that killed Kaleb Cowart’s career. Griffin Canning has been with the Angels for one year and is at serious risk of being in AAA before too long. Jose Suarez pitched well for the Salt Lake Bees today and started the season in A+ ball. Matt Thaiss hit a go-ahead 9th inning Grand Slam this evening. There are so many prospects and future pieces leaving scorched earth in their wake as they march toward the big league club that it is hard not to be excited.

Also, Shohei Ohtani.

Still more money comes off the books for the 2019 offseason and still more comes off the 2020 one too. This ballclub does not have the bleak future that everyone makes it out to have. Mike Trout is not going to look around come a couple years from now and think, “Holy Jeter, why am I stuck here with this team?”

No. Mike Trout is going to see the rising talent and the young and the fresh and the possibly even great break through the ceiling to the MLB and take the AL West by force.

And he will stay in Anaheim. Are you paying attention? Mike Trout will stay in Anaheim! And we will laugh and laugh and laugh as he leads this young, gifted, and most of all, fun team to a new dynasty in the 2020’s.

Don’t you dare think for a second that this is the end. This is just the beginning. This loss right here is just the beginning of something great. Book it.

Thoughts on the game:

  • It is definitely Upton’s fault that Trout was caught stealing today, but swinging at that pitch might have still been a K. It was a darn good pitch.
  • Jaime Barria was both very good and very bad today, but mostly very bad. The Diamondbacks are streaking again right now, so I might cut him some slack considering some of the challengers he has made look silly, but he also can’t serve up some of the meatballs he did to their sluggers. Fortunately, he is extremely young and learning and will be a staple of the rotation for years.
  • Jeff Mathis broke our back with a 2-run double as if to say, “You guys always did like Napoli better.” Maybe if you hadn’t been so bad, we wouldn’t have liked him better, Jeff.
  • Justin Upton and Albert Pujols went back-to-back on solo shots and that’s always nice.
  • Mike Trout somehow managed to raise his OPS with 2 singles and 2 walks in 5 plate appearances. His BB% is once again higher than his K% and nearing 20% once more.
  • The Diamondbacks defense was the star of the game. Upton was robbed of a bases-clearing double at the very minimum by a leaping Jarrod Dyson who should have been an Angel since who knows how long anyway and Jake Lamb and Ketel Marte were diving all over the field, robbing line drives. The one that looms the biggest was the RBI single he robbed Chris Young of, which would have made it a 7-5 game with 1 out in the 8th and runners on the corners.
  • Again— why in the world would you ever pitch to Paul Goldschmidt?
  • The one thing I absolutely cannot stand when I hear it from announcers, players, coaches, fans, whoever... is when they say that you shouldn’t go to second when down by more than one run “because the run doesn’t matter anyway.” This is the wrong mentality to have. You have to take away the ground ball double play. Trout not going to second in the 9th on the bobble is understandable as he could have been thrown out, but he 100% should have taken second on indifference. Soon afterward, Justin Upton would ground into the godforsaken double play we all dread and all but entirely seal the team’s fate. Stop encouraging baserunners to put the team in a position to fail.