The story of the game appeared to materialize in the very first inning as the Angels faced off against opener Hector Rondon early on Tuesday evening. In the bottom side of the beginning frame, batter after batter continued to reach base as the Angels eventually batted around and dropped a 6-spot on the fearsome Astros. We will come back to this because more pressing matters took place later on in the game.
Going into the 6th inning, Marisnick had already received quite a bit of hate from the Angels faithful. I don’t normally think much of booing, but it was actually quite nice to see the stands so invested in the game considering the run disparity. Here is some audio during Marisnick’s walk to the plate via an attendee.
Loud boos directed towards Marisnick pic.twitter.com/cYGq8L9X4p— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken) July 17, 2019
To the chagrin of the audience, he would single in his first plate appearance. The jeering would convert to cheering two innings later when he would be retired on a flyout. Finally, the crowd would get loud once more when he came up to bat in the 6th to lead off the inning.
It’s difficult to ascertain whether or not Noe Ramirez meant to hit Jake Marisnick. This video of the HBP gives a confusing account and the postgame interviews with Noe might reveal more about the intention.
First of all, this is Noe Ramirez. If there is an Angels pitcher that the team would give directive to hit Jake Marisnick, it would be this 88-90 MPH blisterman (to prevent injury). Everyone seems to have known it was coming and the umpire did not hesitate to warn the benches.
On the other hand, the ball appears to have slipped and went dangerously close to Marisnick’s head. The count is also confusing. Did the tandem initially want to try for the out and then suddenly change their mind? Did Smith get a sign directly from Ausmus to peg him?
Regardless, Marisnick calmly wore the 89.6 MPH four-seamer and took his base. Quickly thereafter, Albert “Series Hero” Pujols grew tired of bitter commentary from the Astros dugout.
Finger-waggin' Albert Pujols was about to take on the Astros dugout by himself. pic.twitter.com/IeLCQ7ZKqt— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) July 17, 2019
The dugouts kind of emptied, the bullpens almost sort of rushed onto the field, and the managers were near being close to exploding at each other and certain individuals. Jake Marisnick, attempting to make amends, played the peacekeeper by telling his team to just shut up and go back to the dugout.
Jake Marisnick was telling his own teammates, namely Lance McCullers, to quit with the jawing. pic.twitter.com/iMIrHbHYuP— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) July 17, 2019
And then he didn’t score so it meant a whole lot of nothing really except moving on. Right or wrong, Jake Marisnick entertained the unwritten rules and coolly accepted the response. Assuming it was not just a simple accidental bad pitch, this is obviously no longer the team that it had been for 19 years, for better or worse.
The 6 runs would be more than enough to handle Houston. In fact, the 3-run double that Pujols lined to opposite field for the fourth time in two games was enough by itself. Rengifo, Goodwin, and Ohtani all had multi-hit games and everyone but Kevan Smith (who was crucial to yesterday’s victory) either scored at least one run or drove one in.
On the pitching side, the Angels did enough. They worked in and around jams almost every single inning, but did what was necessary to prevent baserunners from touching home plate. To wit, the Astros ended the game 3-18 with runners in scoring position and 14 runners left on base. Living about 3 hours from the biggest city in the US myself, I can hear the rioting in the gulf area from here. Imagine if Trevor Cahill came 1 out away from garnering a three-inning save against you before passing judgment.
Again, the Angels were an exemplar of efficiency, scoring 7 runs (6 earned) on 9 hits. They have scored 44 runs in 5 consecutive victories. Treasure this moment, here and now; for Gerrit Cole is starting tomorrow.