Mike Trout stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning with two outs, runners on first and third, and silenced a buzzing Astros crowd with this rocket to left-center field.
The three-run homer catapulted provided the go-ahead runs, and the Angels
pulled [read: did not pull] away on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. Trout has often been intentionally walked in such situations this season or, often, been pitched around by opposing pitching. That certainly was not the case tonight, as Joe Smith threw a meatball right in the MVP’s wheelhouse. The Angels sent ten to the plate in the inning, and thanks to a walk by Eric Young Jr. and a slap double by Francisco Arcia over the head of Alex Bregman, Mike Trout was in a position to execute once again. The home run brought his HR total to 38 (T-3), his fWAR to an MLB-leading 9.4 (T-1), and his wRC+ to a blistering 193 (1st). As an aside, the Angels’ 8th inning also saved the present author from using another Angels more than halve their margin of deficit headline for the second night in a row, a title which I would have had the audacity to use yet again.
Also, some guy with the last name of Straw stole a base. Aside from that, nothing else happened.
Not Justin Verlander’s 11 strikeout performance.
Not Jose Altuve’s 2-run home run.
Not Taylor Ward’s comedic impression of Noe Ramirez.
Not Justin Anderson’s—and subsequently Ty Buttrey’s—meltdown.
Not Blake Parker’s stinker of an outing.
Not the Astros’ 9-run eighth inning to counter the Angels’ 5-spot.
None of it.
Sometimes, your good isn’t good enough. You can continue to try and try and try—there’s nothing inherently wrong with that—but it doesn’t mean that you will prevail if your baseline of talent is not enough. There is not always valiance in futility. The bitter truth of the matter is that this iteration of the Angels is not close to being talented enough to defeat the Astros. And that’s okay!
But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.