Isn’t it weird how the LA Angels manage to keep their success bittersweet? Despite generally out playing the division rival Texas Rangers in the entirety of the three game set the Angels are there to remind you how the struggles are always there. The home team kept the Rangers to only 4 runs over the 3 game set, the opener of the set being a shutout. Then the second game of the set rolled in, and we were all reminded just what kind of team the Angels are.
The LA Angels aren’t a bad team, they’re very good; at times. The Rangers set was proof of how good they are, at times. It really showed, because they dominated the entire June 2nd game behind a brilliant 7 IP, 9 K start by Angels starter Garrett Richards. Then the ninth inning came along, one of those ugly times rearing its head, with Blake Parker in tow.
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I don’t know why he was allowed another high pressure save opportunity after he nearly blew his previous save opportunity against the Toronto Blue Jays before Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun pulled off an incredible double play ending on a throw out at home. Before that the game looked lost with a walk and 3 hits allowed with the game surviving despite Parker. Then he comes into another high pressure save opportunity with a one run lead against the Rangers and immediately gave up the game. After watching the Rangers mediocre second baseman Rougned Odor attempt a dirty takeout slide on Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons it was especially disheartened to see the Rangers levy an uplifting last-minute victory against the Angels.
Thank goodness the Angels took home the final game of the series, because I cannot take another rival team walking into Anaheim and laughing all the way to the bank.
That starts today with Nick Tropeano looking for his third win in a row against the flatly performing Kansas City Royals. Tropeano has been pitching at a career best lately with only three runs allowed in his last 12.2 on his search for his first three win streak. The opposing pitcher, KC’s Danny Duffy, has been equally on point as of late; his last two starts being one run affairs across 6+ innings. He’s been prone to giving up big runs this season, hence his towering 5.71 ERA, though he’s been getting his feet back under his big time lately. The Angels will need to take him out of the happy place he’s been settling into lately and return him to the Shadow Realm.
Likewise, Andrew Heaney needs to pull himself from the darkness after his last start being rather poor with 5 runs allowed in 5 innings pitched against the Tigers of all teams. He needs to reassert himself big time, and what an opportunity to do so with the struggling Royals on the table. He needs to settle his instabilities, because the Royals are facing a semi-unstable situation with Brad Keller taking the mound. He started the season out of the bullpen and has only recently begin starting; his first start came against the Twins in which he gave up one run over three IP and this time out the Royals will be looking to stretch him out against the Angels with a 75 pitch threshold. If the Angels offense is hot enough they can put him at the tally early on and put the Royals into a real troubling situation.
So far it all sounds like the Angels are being served up a piece of pie, but with this team finding themselves allowing singular moments wreck them as a team over and over again one can’t really predict a clean sweep off of what should be. Hopefully with Shohei Ohtani facing the struggling Ian Kennedy we’ll get another chance to watch Ohtani put on a pitching on way to a smooth victory. Who knows though, this is the game of baseball after all; and anything can happen.
What to look for
- A blown save probably.
- Mike Trout is having some knee issues, but that won’t stop him from suiting up. Trout already has 50 walks on the season against 48 K’s and is looking to pop his 20th home run of the season against a hitter friendly pitching staff. Earlier this week my thirteen year old brother complained about the baseball video game, MLB The Show 18, having unrealistic simulation standards, because Mike Trout had 30 HR’s by the All-Star break. Each day this begins to look more and more prophetic to me.