The LA Angels have been having an up-and-down season thus far in 2019. The last two nights against their I-5 rival the LA Dodgers could spark an Angel hot streak.
If you are a LA Angels fan like me, the last two games have put a smile on your face. Watching the Angels win two close games over the Dodgers in front of two record crowds at the Big “A” was an uplifting experience. It wasn’t just that the Angels swept the Dodgers, but that they came through in clutch moments which is something they have been lacking most of the season.
Beating the Dodgers is always a good thing if you’re the Angels as their fans make a lot of noise and talk a lot of crap when their team is playing well. It has been especially been tough for Angel fans in the past nine seasons to watch the Dodgers make the playoffs six times making the NLCS four times and the World Series twice, while the Angels have not won a playoff game in that same span.
These periods happen in every franchise. After winning the World Series in 1988 the Dodgers only made the playoffs four times in the next 20 years winning only one playoff game in that same span while the Angels made the playoff six times making it to the ALCS three times and winning the World Series once.
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With this all being said the series was important for the Angels just to build some much needed momentum going into a key 11-game road trip which will see the Angels play Tampa Bay, the leader in the AL Wild-Card race. The will also travel to St. Louis for the first series for Albert Pujols there since the Angels signed him seven years ago.
Finally the Angels will go back up to Oakland who they are also trailing in the wild-card race as well as the Al West.
The two-games against the Dodgers featured rookie Griffin Canning and against Dodgers Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu. While Canning was not as sharp as he has been normally, he gutted his way through six innings allowing five hits and three runs to keep the Angels close. Ryu pitched six strong innings giving up only one run, however the Dodgers bullpen could not hold the lead.
In the 7th Mike Trout tied the game with a two-run homer to left. Then the Angels scored two runs in the eighth without getting a hit and Hansel Robles shut down the Dodgers in the 9th inning to send the Angel fans in the record crowd of 45,477 home happy.
Tuesday night’s game had the same score, but was different then Mondays. This time the Angels jumped out to a quick lead with a five-run first inning featuring another Shohei Ohtani homer off of a fellow countrymen in Kenta Maeda. The big story was just recalled Justin Bour came through right away in his first at-bat launching a 3-run homer off of Maeda to cap the five run outburst.
From there it was up to the Angels pitching, which has not been their strong suit. Felix Pena pitched close to four innings after a scoreless first by Cam Bedrosian. Justin Anderson rescued Pena in the fifth by getting Chris Taylor to ground out to end the threat. Anderson followed with two outs in the sixth and then turned the ball over to Ty Buttrey who got the final out of the 6th and then had an easy 7th.
In the 8th the Dodgers got a little closer with one run causing Hansel Robles to be summoned with one out in the 8th. Robles retired the next two batters to send it to the 9th. In the 9th Robles allowed the first two batters to get on base but came back to strike out the next two batters and got Russell Martin to ground out to end it.
The Angels were able to limit the Dodgers to just 4 for 25 with runners in scoring position which was a key in both games. Sort of a bend but don’t break mentality. If the Angels can continue to do this they will be much more successful in the future.
The two-game sweep may not mean much in the standings for the Angels, but in giving the team some life it was huge. The Angels will hopefully use this series as a springboard. With the addition of Justin Upton, who will hopefully be recalled in the next few days the Angels could almost have the line-up they expected to have at the beginning of the season before injuries took a toll on the team.