Maybe it’s because I watch from the viewpoint of a die-hard fan and not an objective sports writer, but it sure does seem like the Angels offense (or perhaps the team’s overall vibe in 2018, so far) is a feast or famine affair. They will give goose eggs, and they’ll give bombastic displays of offensive insanity. There’s rarely anything in the box score at the end of the day that falls in between those two ends of the spectrum. Again, that’s just what it seems like from where I stand, and I realize that fanaticism can sometimes cloud the reality of a ballclub’s output.
If the feast or famine thing is true, though, then we’ve found ourselves in one of the stretches of gluttonous, ravenous, all out feasting. The Angels started a series at home against Kansas City tonight, fresh off of taking a series from Texas, and found themselves down 5-2 at one point before the lumber decided it was time for lift off. When the fat lady had sung, the tables had been turned, flipped over, flipped over again and then turned once more, for good measure, but all that mattered was the Halos ending up on top 9-6.
Nick Tropeano has shown us some brilliance lately, but tonight he was lacking that brilliance and luster out there on the bump. The Angels’ starting pitcher on Monday, NiTro only made it 4.2 IP, and when his night was through, he had given up 9 hits to the visiting Royals, along with five runs, all earned. Meanwhile, the Angels only had a couple runs of their own, thanks to a sac fly in the first from Andrelton Simmons, and an RBI single in the second from Martin Maldonado. Once Tropeano had been lifted from the game, however, things turned around for the hometown crew.
It started in the bottom of the fifth, with a Justin Upton solo blast. His 13th of the season, Upton’s bomb was his second in as many days and all of a sudden it seems that the power stroke for the talented RF was back in full force. We’ve seen him be streaky with the long ball already this season, and hopefully these past two games are indicative that he’s on another home run heater.
If you want to know how cray cray the bats would get in tonight’s showdown, then just look at Jefry Marte and his four-hit evening. Yep, Marte had four knocks, and one of them was a dinger, which went down in a momentum-shifting sixth inning. After Marte’s homer put the Angels within one run, Mike Trout played the hero, naturally, and tied the game up at 5-5 with a nice liner to center field. The inning wasn’t over, though, because Albert Pujols still had some damage to do. The Machine gave the Halos a 6-5 lead with a single of his own, and now we had ourselves a ballgame.
That lead, such as life itself, was all too brief. In the top of the seventh, with Noe Ramirez on in relief, the Royals’ Salvador Perez hit an equalizing home run, setting the stage for the Halos to perform some more heroics, if they wanted to win their second game in a row. The bottom of the eighth inning was when it all went down.
But they’d have to get to that fateful side first. The bottom of the seventh was relatively quiet for the Angels, and then in the top of the eighth, Cam Bedrosian came on in relief and flashes of how things could all go wrong whizzed through every fan’s head. But Cam was on point tonight, and wouldn’t you know it, he pitched a perfect eighth inning. Yep, it was one of those nights at Angel Stadium. Now, on to the bottom of the eighth.
Mike Trout kicked off that frame’s scoring with a go-ahead single, putting the Angels up 7-6 and giving Mike Trout the honors of having both a game-tying and go-ahead hit in the same game. That’s so Mike Trout. The home team would continue to lay it on their visiting frenemies, as Justin Upton got himself another RBI, this time from a single to right field that would score Michael Hermosillo, and then Albert Pujols hit a quintessential Albert Pujols-ish single to left that scored Mike Trout. With two Mikes crossing the plate, the lead had now been pushed up to three runs, the Angels on top 9-6.
Blake Parker was called upon in the top of the ninth to get the save, and that’s exactly what he did, and he did it in short order, too. He got two Royals batters in a row to pop up, then he walked Salvador Perez, and put Kansas City to bed in the next AB with a strikeout of Jorge Soler. When all was said and done, and there were no more innings to be played, the Angels had totaled nine runs off of 14 hits, to KC’s six runs off of 12 hits. Tropeano didn’t look so hot, but the bullpen did just fine and the offense, in the last three innings in which they went to the dish, did everything right.
That’s all it took to take down the Royals in the series opener. You know, nothing special other than Marte’s four hits, Mike Trout being amazing and clutch AF, Pujols pitching in and Justin Upton rearing his beastly batting side once again. Tomorrow, they’ll get to go for three in a row, and with the way things have been clicking, I have to say that I like their chances.