Angels 4, A’s 3
The Angels were going to lose this game. It was preplanned, what with the late start because of the Vladimir Guerrero Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the lefty Brett Anderson that was starting for Oakland, the very subpar Felix Pena the Angels trotted out, the new super A’s bullpen, and just the general meh-ness of the Trout-less, Ohtani-less lineup.
So naturally, new superstar and player-I-admit-to-secretly-liking Matt Chapman bopped a dinger to right on Pena’s second hitter of the game. Then Khris Davis (not the overpaid Oriole) put a charge into a baseball for a two-run homer. 3-0 after 1 inning as the Angels were following the script perfectly.
Then something funny happened. The Angels turned the late start into efficiency-land. Kole Calhoun homered off the lefty Brett Anderson. Felix Pena nearly got to a quality start, working 5.2 innings with just the 3 aforementioned runs. The two teams only combined for five LOBsters to speed things along. Lou Trivino, the rookie sensation with a 1.29 ERA allowed a two-run HR to Justin Upton, putting the Angels in the lead for good.
Calhoun, by the way, has 15 HRs in the 44 games since he’s come off the DL. In English, if expanded out to 162 games, he would have 55 HRs.
We. Will. Win. With. What. We. Got.
We didn’t have the A’s super bullpen. We cobbled together 3.1 scoreless innings from 5 relievers. We didn’t have Trout or Ohtani. Two homers.
And say what you will about Michael Lorri Scioscia. Today he came through. In the 9th, the A’s had scheduled Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty to hit. The old Scioscia would have brought Blake Parker in to slam the door. And he probably would have closed the gate.
The new Scioscia, the one who saw that big lefty bat in the middle of those three, sent out Justin Anderson once again to face Davis. He struck him out, making it 4 strikeouts in 4 batters for JA. Then he went with Jose Alvarez against Olson, who is OPS’ing .666 against lefties and .822 against righties. That is the statistical, analytical move. And Scioscia did it. Olson grounded out, with David Fletcher making a sensational play, and Parker was in to slam the door.
Sometimes it’s easy to make a call. No one would have questioned Scioscia if Parker blew the save. Tonight he made the hard one. And it might have garnered the Angels a victory.
W6G, 9.5 GB, and all that good jazz.