June 18th was a weird day for all of us. It signaled the return of much-adored Kole Calhoun. When he stepped up to the plate, however, something seemed different. He looked just like a lefty Albert Pujols.
He quickly got on base via a single to right field, and many of us skeptically golf clapped. After a strikeout not too long afterward, he then singled to left field. This was promising, but nobody wanted to get their hopes up. After all, by the end of that game (which the Angels dropped to the Diamondbacks), Calhoun had the following line.
That’s right. He had 1 home run, 1 triple, 1 double, and 24 singles, two of which had come that night. Many of us had been playing a dark, little game where we tried to see how close he could get to a wRC+ of 0. He got as low as 3 at one point before his trip to the DL.
This is his line now.
A few notes:
- Calhoun has duodecupled his home runs since returning from the DL and in 66 fewer PAs
- His batting average is finally (and maybe permanently?) over .200
- Calhoun is almost back to replacement level when he was at around -1.5 fWAR by the end of May
- He’s done all of this in just over a month
So is there anything that we need to take away from all this information? Not really.
BUT THE MARINERS HAVE TAKEN AWAY PLENTY.
On a night when every single Angels fan with even an ounce of investment into the game was 100% certain that we had lost, Kole Calhoun placed the team on his back and softly whispered, “Come with me, my children, to the promised land that is October. ‘Tis not so far.”
I have to disagree with him, but he sure is giving us a hell of a ride.
It all started in the second in a bases-loaded situation. The Angels have struggled in those scenarios this season to the tune of a .246/.313/.308 slash line and a 74 wRC+. Faith restored in the right fielder, we all hoped for some extra-base new-stance magic.
Calhoun then delivered with an automatic double down the line to score two and Fletcher drove in the 3rd run on a sac fly.
After Heaney’s great performance over 8 innings that was tarnished somewhat by an Upton misadventure in left, the Angels would end up tied 3-3 until the bottom of the 10th. On the very first pitch that he saw from Juan Nicasio, who is basically Justin Upton but a pitcher (incredibly, incredibly unclutch/unlucky this year despite good numbers otherwise), the Red Baron stroked one over the wall in right field which did this:
#Angels also snap Mariners 14-game extra-inning win streak. Seattle's last extra-inning loss was July 5, 2017 vs. KC— Matt Birch (@MattBirch12) July 28, 2018
Let’s do it again tomorrow!
Other points of interest:
- Albert Pujols saved the game with a diving stop to steal 2 runs from the Mariners.
- Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton (he had his bright spots too) both robbed scorched liners just prior to a Mike Zunino solo home run
- David Fletcher made more than one sweet play at 3rd
- Mike Trout gloriously robbed a home run (or at least a triple) as he is apt to do against Seattle
- Kole Calhoun (yes, he was important defensively) had a great jump and made a shoestring catch in a tight spot
- Ian Kinsler and Jose Briceno combined to throw out Dee Gordon at home plate in what was also game-saving; though Briceno was at fault for Dee being on 3rd, without his error, the out would never have actually been recorded so what’re you gonna do?
- As far as I can tell, the Angels are undefeated in the Ohtani ahead of Trout era.
Other offensive contributors.
- Trout walked again because of course he did
- Jose Briceno had a good night at the plate and his single was key in setting up the Kole Calhoun two-run double
- Dee Gordon fell flat on his stomach after grounding to Ian Kinsler and the double play was completed before he even got back to his feet. Highlight of the night, for sure.