The Angels have had good reason to take pity on their young siblings. The little guys in blue have had a rough go of things over the past several decades. Meanwhile, the Angels had been to and successfully pulled off a World Series win in the last 20 years, let alone the last 30. The Dodgers were a sympathetic case with a rich history of loss and failure.
But two consecutive World Series appearances (without a ring) were getting to the little guys’ heads. At some point, you have to just establish your dominance. You were here first, after all. The warm and tingly feeling from making them feel good about themselves has long since subsided.
So the Angels invited the Dodgers to four games “just for fun” and did not hold back as they proceeded to brutalize the little guys. The Halos used hacks and cheat codes like blinding the home plate umpire Iossagna, giving 85 grade Power and Hit tools to Kole Calhoun, and even some bizarre, black magic that made Jaime Barria pitch 5 innings with only 1 run allowed. It got so one-sided that Cody Bellinger rage-quit 8 innings into the final contest. Tears were shed, words were had, and batting equipment was smashed before the hierarchy was reestablished with 4 straight victories.
In reality, every game was a nail-biter and the final one was no exception.
Kole Calhoun had a second consecutive game with 2 doubles and a homer. STATS by Stats had something even wilder to say:
Kole Calhoun of the @Angels has 6 home runs and 5 doubles in his last 7 games against the Dodgers.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) July 25, 2019
The last player with 11+ extra-base hits in a 7-game span against the Dodgers: Willie Mays in 1958.#TheHaloWay
So we have Willie Mays in right and Mickey Mantle in center when we play the Dodgers. Sounds about right, given their extreme struggles against the good guys.
Kole would drive in 2 today and be the difference-maker, but the pitching was outstanding. Jaime Barria mixed his pitches well and induced a lot of soft contact despite still overusing his slider, Adalberto Mejia did better than he was credited for and was burned by a missed third strike call (it’s okay because the ump made up for it with missed ball calls too), Robles recovered from last night’s shaky outing, Cole and Bedrosian induced crucial double plays, and Luis Garcia was classic Luis Garcia. Holding the team with the best record in baseball (arguably the best team period) to no more than 4 runs in any game and 2 in the worst matchup of the away series is outstanding.
The question on everyone’s minds now is whether we trade Calhoun (at arguably his peak) or try to make a run at the postseason. It’s a pretty difficult position as he is one of very few trade assets the team has, but is also one of the clutchest (per Win Probability Added among other stats) players on the team. Assuming the upcoming series go pretty well —it’s the Orioles and Tigers for 7 games— the team will likely shift into buyers with this sweep. Either Calhoun will garner a better pitching return than we once expected or Brandon Marsh will probably be the first man on the trade block.
It will be interesting to see what the next week has in store and whether the Angels can hang around with the heavy hitters of the American League.