The Angel offense started off on a good note Tuesday evening and never looked back as the threatening Tyler Mahle faced off against the struggling Andrew Heaney. While not a cakewalk, the game felt solidly out of hand for the Reds from the second inning onward. On the heels of a disappointing series in St. Louis, the Trouts would certainly take it.
Heaney certainly didn’t let the game start off on a good note. Keep in mind that the Reds have been one of the worst offenses in baseball, and only a recent surge (including a 3-game sweep of the Houston Astros) has kept them from the 3rd worst team wRC+ in the majors. It would then be disappointing when the finally-past-his-prime Joey Votto hit a homer in the second at bat of the game to put the Reds up 1-0.
All was not lost, however, as Tommy La Stella would do him one better. Smacking a deep fly to center field, the ball only slightly glanced off the glove of prized prospect Nick Senzel, shooting off into the middle of no-man’s land. Yasiel Puig must have been busy letting the kids play as he was nowhere to be found, and La Stella cruised into the Angels’ first inside-the-park home run in 7 years.
Tommy La Stella's 16th homer of the year is the #Angels first inside-the-park home run since April 11, 2012 by Peter Bourjos (at MIN).— Matt Birch (@MattBirch12) June 26, 2019
The last Halos player with an inside-the-park homer at Angel Stadium was Chone Figgins (Sept. 29, 2006 vs. OAK)
The Angels were not done. In the bottom of the 2nd, the bottom of the lineup came together to put the game out of reach permanently. Albert Pujols singled, David Fletcher drew the ever-living crap out of a walk like freaking pro, and Luis Rengifo then issued the following statement on the return of Andrelton Simmons and the idea of being sent back down to AAA:
That's the sound of a no-doubter pic.twitter.com/YxxYLsMv0c— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 26, 2019
Wilfredo Tovar noticed that La Stella, Fletcher, and Rengifo were all having nights that suggested that they were not fans of losing roster spots. I can just imagine him begging and pleading with Ausmus to get a chance to make something happen. In the 7th, he would get his wish and capitalize.
Tommy La Stella singled, and Ausmus let Tovar pinch run. This was all the opportunity that he needed. Trout blasted one just shy of the wall, and Tovar screamed to 2nd as fast as his little legs could carry him. Then Ohtani followed suit to the track in front of the left field bullpen. Tovar never hesitated as Jose Peraza seemingly forgot there were only 2 outs. Tovar scored on a sacrifice fly from 2nd base. Kinda reminds you of Erick Aybar.
Wilfredo Tovar really just scored from 2nd on a sac fly. pic.twitter.com/AcPM7NbROF— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 26, 2019
The pitching staff did enough after the homer. Heaney was effectively wild for 5.1 innings pitched against, again, the 4th worst lineup in the majors, Noe Ramirez and Ty Buttrey shut down the next 2.2, and Hansel Robles wobbled and shook his way through an ultimately scoreless 9th.
It was a good win backed by smart baserunning, solid defense (those same infielders had some big double plays), and some nice power. It was exactly the type of win you expect out of a team with a record of .500 or better. And at the moment, that is exactly what the Angels are.