ANGELS GAME RECAP: The Los Angeles Angels came into the final game of the season with the ability to become big time spoilers. With the Rangers tied for a wild card spot with the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Angels had a chance to hand the Rangers a loss which would put them in a tough position to grab one of the wild card spots.
When the game started, the Rays were up 7 runs against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Indians had grabbed an early lead against the lowly Minnesota Twins. The stage was set. A Rangers loss and the Angels could cap an otherwise disappointing 2013 season by knocking their division rivals out of the playoffs.
Things started well with Mike Trout hitting a deep, center-field home run in the first inning off Rangers starter Yu Darvish to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. That lead lasted awhile as Angels starter Jason Vargas sailed through four innings. But in the fifth, Vargas put the first two men he faced on base. Still, with a potential sacrifice bunt in play and a slow running A.J. Piersynski as the lead runner, the potential to get out of the inning unscathed seemed possible. That was until Vargas threw the ball into centerfield trying to pick of Piersynski. It was a strange decision and the error only made it seem all that more questionable. Vargas struck out the next batter but then gave up a slow moving single to Craig Gentry that allowed two runners to cross giving the Rangers the lead.
The Angels would tie the game on a Josh Hamilton RBI and threaten to put more runs on the board through the rest of the game. Innings 5 through 8, the Angels got the lead-off runner on-base but were still unable to capitalize. The Rangers scored 2 more against an ineffective J.C. Gutierrez. The Angels went into the 9th down two against the Rangers. Ernesto Frieri came into the game having allowed four home runs this year to Rangers batters and sporting a 12.71 ERA versus Texas, immediately allowed a home run to Adrian Beltre. As the ball landed on the green out past centerfield, the Angels disappointing 2013 season seeemed destine to end on a sour note.
And it did. A four-game sweep at the hands of a division rival that didn’t even finish in first place. Rangers get the play another day as the Angels head home wondering what the hell just happened during the past 6+ months. And that’s not the only question that Arte Moreno and the Angels will be trying to answer this off-season.
Good Riddance to 2013!