The LA Angels went into Friday three games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot. After a Twins’ loss and Angels win, they now sit two behind. However, it took guts to get there the way they did.
The LA Angels went into Spring Training with many players competing for spots. One of the most interesting competitions was between Jesse Chavez and Bud Norris for the fifth starter role. Chavez, who had spent the majority of his career as a reliever, ultimately beat out the career-starter Norris.
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However, Norris has arguably had the best year of his career as the Angels’ primary closer. Chavez struggled as the starter (availability was his best ability), and was eventually booted form the rotation.
With the Angels short on starting pitchers, they needed a spot starter for Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers. However, they opted to pass on a Chavez start and put Norris on the mound to start the game. While some will claim this is because Chavez is due incentives is he makes one more start this season, it is more than likely because of Chavez’s epic struggles this season.
Norris made the Halos look like geniuses, as he went two innings and allowed only one hit. The Angels went on to use seven pitchers in their 7-6 comeback victory. The game ball undoubtedly goes to Blake Parker, who pitched through the heart of the Rangers lineup to earn a six-out save. He allowed no hits and struck out three batters.
While the Angels got the win, Chavez still almost took the loss. He pitched the fifth inning, and gave up four runs on five hits. If not for the late game heroics of Parker and the Angels offense, Chavez would have taken the loss and seen his small role decrease even more.
The Halos now sit two games behind the Twins with 16 games to go in the season. Every game matters, and amazing performances such as the one Norris had are what will keep the Angels in the race.