Throwback Thursday was in full force this afternoon in Arlington as the Angels unfortunately reverted back to old ways (reminiscent to the 1st Half of the season) of taking an early lead and squandering it late in the contest.
The Angels bats were firing on all cylinders early in the finale against the Rangers, dropping a five spot in the first inning while batting around the order. After a leadoff single by Brandon Marsh, Shohei Ohtani inched closer to 100 RBI by ripping a triple into right field, tying the Major League lead with 8 Triples, and giving the Angels a 1-0 advantage just two batters into the game. With this triple, Ohtani became the first player since Mike Schmidt (1980) to record 45+ Home Runs and 8+ Triples in a single season.
Six pitches later, Jared Walsh made it three consecutive hits to begin the ball game with an RBI Single to left field, scoring Ohtani, for his 92 RBI of the season. Following a two-hit game last night in his return to the Angels lineup, Taylor Ward picked up right where he left off, driving in two (Walsh and Jose Rojas) on a left-centerfield double to extend the lead to 4-0.
Luis Rengifo capped off the inning with a RBI Single of his own, but it came at a price as Ward slid awkwardly into Rangers catcher Jonah Heim at the plate, was called safe, but would not return to the game due to right abductor tightness.
Here is a compilation of all 5 runs in the first inning:
With a five-run cushion right out of the gate, starter Alex Cobb struggled with command, yielding two-out base runners in each of the first three innings. The traffic on the base path came back to haunt the veteran right-hander in the third inning as DJ Peters slashed his third home run of the year against Halos pitching. With a three-run blast over the head of Marsh in center field, Peters erased the shutout, making things interesting at 5-3.
Juan Lagares, who came in to play left field upon the exit of [Taylor] Ward, got one of the runs back in the fifth with a two-on, two-out single up the middle against reliever Drew Anderson for his 38th RBI of the year.
With a 6-3 lead, Cobb could not contain potential AL Rookie of the Year candidate Adolis Garcia as the Cuba native took “The Thing” deep to right field, slicing the Rangers deficit to just 6-5. This season, Garcia has found his run producing power stroke against the Halos with 5 HR and 13 RBI in 19 games.
Final Line for Alex Cobb: 5 IP | 7 H | 5 ER | 2 BB | 5 K | 3.76 ERA (99 Pitches - 68 Strikes)
The bullpen showed promise as Sam Selman and Jimmy Herget tossed a clean sixth and seventh inning, but Herget returned for the eighth inning and the idea for pitching two consecutive innings did not go as planned. After getting a great defensive stop from Jack Mayfield for out number one, a walk and back-to-back doubles from Peters and Brock Holt spelled trouble and turned the lead over to the Rangers for the first time (and for good) all afternoon by the score of 7-6.
Ohtani nearly tied things up with his 46th home run and 100th RBI in the ninth inning with a deep fly ball to left field off closer Joe Barlow, but it fell just short of the wall with a nice catch by Peters. Angel fans can pound their head against the wall after this at-bat, since it would have been a home run in 23 of 30 ballparks in Major League Baseball.
Shohei Ohtani vs Joe Barlow#WeBelieve— Would it dong? (@would_it_dong) September 30, 2021
Exit velo: 104 mph
Launch angle: 33 deg
Proj. distance: 368 ft
This would have been a home run in 23/30 MLB ballparks
LAA (6) @ TEX (7)
With no comeback in sight, the Angels finish the 2021 campaign versus Texas going 11-9 (6-4 at Globe Life Field), but losing four of the final five head-to-head matchups. To make matters worse, the Halos have now lost 10 of their last 13 games and are 27-46 overall when battling AL West opponents.
With just three games remaining in the regular season this weekend, the Angels will travel back to the pacific northwest to take on the Seattle Mariners, who are in the middle of the AL Wildcard chase. As fans flock to T-Mobile Park, the series will kick off with lefty Jose Suarez (7-8, 3.86 ERA) taking on fellow southpaw Marco Gonzales (10-5, 4.00 ERA) at 7:10 p.m. PT on Bally Sports West.
Angels News & Notes
- Alex Cobb finishes 2021 with a 2.91 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) which is tied with Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole for third lowest in the American League
- OF Taylor Ward was removed from today’s game in the 2nd inning after a weird slide at home plate in the first inning (right abductor tightness)
- David Fletcher’s slump continues to grow as he is hitless in his last 29 at-bats. His last base hit was a 5th inning Single on September 20 vs. Houston
- C Matt Thaiss was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake (Joe Maddon confirmed Thaiss is now a full-time catcher again), in correspondence, RHP Janson Junk was optioned back to Triple-A Salt Lake
- Starting Rotation for series vs. Seattle: Friday - LHP Jose Suarez, Saturday - Jhonathan Diaz and Sunday - TBD (could potentially be LHP Reid Detmers)