The LA Angels just swept the Milwaukee Brewers, outscoring them 20-12 for the series and looking like a dominant team.
Let me repeat, the LA Angels, a team everyone had claimed as a bust after two poor series against division rivals, just swept a team that was one game away from going to the World Series last year, and then improved over the offseason.
If I had told 100 random people that this series would end in a sweep, I guarantee most, if not all, would assume the Angels were on the receiving end. But nay, the Halos just swept an elite baseball team and these three reasons were huge factors in the phenomenal performance.
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1.) Michael Nelson Trout
After an utterly dominant series against Texas to begin this home stand, Mike Trout continued his heroics against the Brewers. In the first game, Trout went 0-2 with two walks and a run scored. While that did end a nice hitting streak and historic stretch with home runs in four straight games, Trout was still a huge factor.
In that game, fellow MVP Christian Yelich hit a home run to dead center field…except, he didn’t. While the ball was clearing the wall, Trout performed his most famous act, soaring and robbing Yelich of a home run, leaving him to only tip his cap.
Game Two of the series saw Trout collect two hits before leaving the game early. It would later be determined to be a groin strain, which held Trout out of the series finale. Nevertheless, a dominant showing for the game’s best player.
2.) People Besides Mike Trout Hit the Baseball
Wait, so let’s go back to those same 100 people who I informed the series ended in a sweep. If I told them Mike Trout only played 1.5 games, they’d all say the Brewers were the winners. I mean, have you seen the rest of the Halo lineup??
Alas! It turns out that the rest of the Angels actually do know how to hit. Jokes aside, the rest of this offense stepped up big time this series, and that is a trend that must continue if this team has any aspirations for the postseason.
The new guys in town, Tommy La Stella and Justin Bour each went deep this series, and provided consistent offense throughout. Andrelton Simmons’ bat heated up, which is a huge bonus as long as he is hitting in the upper half of the lineup.
Overall, this offense showed what they’re capable of against the Brewers. Beating the Brew Crew with Trout being unavailable for a majority of two games is an accomplishment, and provides a lot of momentum as this team travels to Chicago to face the Cubs.
3.) The Battle of the Bullpens Was Won
Wait, hold on just one second. So the winner of this series won in a sweep, Mike Trout missed half of the series, and the winning team’s bullpen was a huge factor in the series? Obviously the Brewers won this one with ease!
Sorry, hypothetical random MLB fans, you’d be wrong again with that assumption. The Brewers bullpen, however, had an ERA of 7.56 in this series. Josh Hader, arguably the best reliever in baseball, wasn’t available for the first game of the series after pitching 2.2 innings the day prior, and wasn’t used the following two days as the Brewers never had a late-game lead to preserve.
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The Angels’ bullpen, however, was as dominant as ever. They allowed three runs this series, two courtesy of Luke Bard and the other from Jaime Barria. Considering Bard was optioned to Triple-A and this was Barria’s season debut in Anaheim and first ever relief appearance, it’s safe to say this Angels’ bullpen, especially the top guys (Ty Buttrey, Cody Allen, Noe Ramirez, and Justin Anderson once he returns from AAA), are one of the most elite units in the MLB. This was a focus for Billy Eppler over the offseason, and it seems the risks he made are paying off.
Overall, this was a really fun series for the Angels and their fans. The energy in the ballpark was electric throughout. For the team, this is a huge confidence and momentum builder as they travel to face a talented, yet vulnerable, Cubs team.