On Tuesday night the LA Angels got a major lift with the return of pitcher Nick Tropeano. Tropeano filled-in for the injured Matt Harvey and looked good in his 1st start since August of 2018.
The return of Nick Tropeano was only part of the story for the LA Angels on Tuesday night in Oakland. The things that the Angels did in order to snap a 10-game winning streak by the A’s were numerous and were all things that general manager Billy Eppler and manager Brad Ausmus were hoping for from this year’s team.
The Angels got clutch hitting, strong bullpen work, and solid starting pitching in gaining the 6-4 victory which puts the Angels in position to take the series from the A’s with a victory on Wednesday.
The game did not start well for the Angels as the opener strategy they have employed with certain pitchers did not work as well as they would hope. Reliever Cam Bedrosian gave up a home run to Marcus Semien putting the A’s up 1-0.
However, the Angels came right back scoring four runs in the top of the second inning thanks to two clutch two-out hits. The first was a two-run single by David Fletcher that drove in Albert Pujols and Jonathan Lucroy who had reached base earlier in the inning.
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Fletcher’s hit was followed by a two-run double by Tommy La Stella off the center field wall that scored Fletcher and Luis Rengifo to extend the lead to 4-1.
From there Nick Tropeano pitched a very solid first four innings after following the Angels opener Cam Bedrosian. Tropeano gave only one run and two hits in those first four innings, a homer to Ramon Laureno.
Unfortunately Tropeano ran into trouble in the 6th inning as Matt Chapman led off with a single which was followed by a mammoth moon shot to center by Matt Olson for a game-tying two-run homer to make it 4-4. What was important was that Tropeano came back to retire the next three batters to end the 6th inning with the score still tied.
The Angels needed those innings from Tropeano as the bullpen had been taxed the day before. Cody Allen and Ty Buttrey pitched two strong innings to keep the score tied at four going into the 9th inning.
In the 9th inning it looked like the Angels would go quietly as Joakim Soria retired the first two batters. Tommy La Stella came through again with an opposite-field single to left. Mike Trout then worked a walk after falling behind 1-2. Soria uncorked a wild pitch to put runners at second and third and that set the table for Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani also worked the count on Soria and on a 2-2 pitch he laced a two-out two-run single to drive in La Stella and Trout giving the Angels a 6-4 lead. Then Hansel Robles came into the game to close out the A’s in fine fashion only allowing a one out walk, to get his sixth save in seven opportunities.
In total the Angels bullpen worked three scoreless innings allowing only one hit and striking out five batters. On the offensive side the Angels scored all six runs with two outs something they have struggled to do this season. Finally between opener Cam Bedrosian and Nick Tropeano the starting pitching gave the Angels six quality innings.
If the Angels could repeat this formula on a regular basis we could be talking seriously about the wild-card rather than trying to stay out of the cellar in the AL West.
For one night we saw what was the best laid plans for the 2019 season. Will we see it more often is yet to be seen. One can only hope.