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Walks, wins, and Wrigley: the wildest Angel game of the year

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Breathe. Breathe. It’s over.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago Cubs Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Angels 6, Cubs 5

“Set your expectations low, and you won’t be disappointed.” - probably a famous, smart person.

You would have been forgiven for passing on this game. A weird time start (11:20 am) coupled with the fact that Mike Trout would not be here were just a few of the factors against the Angels today.

The Angels could also have been forgiven. They were coming off a six game win streak snapped Friday afternoon, but it’s cold out there in Chicago. They’re fielding such players as Zack Cozart, Peter Bourjos, Kole Calhoun...what chance is there? With tomorrow’s game in doubt because of weather, this could easily have been a throwaway game.

Yet baseball is kind. Baseball is persistent. It grinds and wears at you and just when you’re about to throw your hands in the air, giving up...it throws you a bone.

At first, it was just entertainment. The kind of comedy you look for at the end of a season when your team has no hope of making the playoffs. Exhibit 1: Justin Bour

The not-at-all Bour-ing escapades were far from over. In the bottom of the first, with Ben Zobrist at first, Anthony Rizzo smashed a baseball with a .660 hit probability to first. Bour dove, and the ball tipped off his glove right into Zobrist. Bour got up, picked the baseball, and bellyflopped into first to beat Rizzo to the bag by a hair.

Other things: A Cubs fan in the first row, possibly knowing nothing about the history of this ballpark, snagged a foul ball that could have been caught by the Cubs’ third baseman.

Tommy La Stella reached base on a catcher’s interference, not at all uncommon for the Cubs.

Then things started getting good. After a series of singles in the 2nd, Zack Cozart stepped to the plate. Before the game, Chris Davis had singled for his first major league hit of the season. Naturally, Cozart had to stay in front of Davis. With the bases loaded, he stroked a single into left. The Angels would get three in that inning.

Chris Stratton came into the game with a 2.04 WHIP. Generally, allowing over two baserunners to reach ON AVERAGE per inning is not a great recipe for success. Of course, he nearly duplicated that “success” today, working just 4.2 innings allowing 5 hits and 4 walks, good enough for a 1.92 WHIP. Yet he left with the lead, although without a chance to win the game.

Ty Buttrey, he of the high leverage situation, relieved Stratton in the 5th with a runner on and two outs. With just a one run lead, the righty got Heyward, and the Cubs would not get that close again.

The inning after that, the walks started. After a Brian Goodwin single, four Angels walked, two with the bases loaded, scoring two more runs. Tommy La Stella, in particular, came into the game with four walks on the year. He walked thrice.

As Chris Davis continued hitting, so did Zack Cozart. Probably the craziest thing of the day was his three hits. Even Peter Bourjos added a sacrifice fly!

Hansel Robles got in a bit of a jam, but Cody Allen bailed him out with a strikeout.

(Allen also got a chance to hit. It wasn’t pretty.)

Two run lead, going into the 9th...nothing can possibly happen, right?

After Allen gets one out, the wheels start falling off. Jerry Meals bails Rizzo out, allowing him to walk. Javier Baez dinks one into center and hustles for second. When he should be a sitting duck, Bourjos fires the ball into the ground. Jason Heyward lifted one down the left field foul line, but Goodwin dropped the ball and it landed fair.

On with 2 on, up 1, 2 outs, 3-2...Allen struck out Schwarber on a controversial check swing.

I think I love baseball.

Poll

POTG?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Zack Cozart
    (66 votes)
  • 4%
    David Fletcher
    (14 votes)
  • 3%
    Tommy La Stella
    (11 votes)
  • 3%
    Ty Buttrey
    (11 votes)
  • 17%
    Cody Allen
    (54 votes)
  • 49%
    The Weirdness Gods
    (155 votes)
311 votes total Vote Now