Brutal week for LA Angels comes to an end
By David Rice
The LA Angels had one of the worst weeks in club history. It started with the worst news, that being Tyler Skaggs passing away on Monday. It didn’t stop there as a slew of injuries befell the team.
After the news of Tyler Skaggs unfortunate passing on Monday someone might have said it can’t get any worse. Well welcome to the LA Angels week from “hell”. The Angel players, staff, and fans were put into a state of shock and mourning Monday afternoon when the news that 27-year old pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room. Many of us watched on Tuesday as the Angels held a pre and post-game press conference with numerous players and manager Brad Ausmus breaking down in tears when reflecting on “Swaggy”.
It was a devastating blow to a team that was just seeming to be turning the corner with the roster at almost full strength. The Angels somehow managed to pull together and play on Tuesday and Wednesday in Texas and were able to pick up two victories with numerous gestures and tributes given to Skaggs by the players.
However, on Tuesday night the Angels lost Tommy La Stella when the All-Star fouled a ball off his right shin resulting in a fractured tibia. One inning later Brian Goodwin was hit on his right wrist by a pitch causing a contusion that forced him to the injured list.
If that wasn’t enough Albert Pujols fouled a ball off his foot keeping him out for two games. You might think I’m done, but sadly there is more. On Wednesday Justin Upton, who just returned two weeks ago pulled a quad muscle and he was out the rest of the week, and possibly longer.
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The Angels kept fighting and won the first game in Houston before losing on Saturday night to Gerrit Cole and the Astros. Which brings us to Sunday. It had been quiet on the injury front since Wednesday, but unfortunately that “damn” bug reared its ugly head again in the eighth inning of a heart-breaking 11-10 loss to the Astros.
With the score tied and bases loaded in the eighth inning, Jake Marisnick decided to try to tag up and score on a fly ball to Kole Calhoun. Calhoun’s throw was a little up the line but Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy seemed to position himself in a perfect spot to take the throw and tag Marisnick out at home.
Instead Marisnick did a football player-like move diving/sliding head-first into Lucroy and lowered his shoulder and head like a middle linebacker would when sacking a quarterback. Marisnick nailed Lucroy making head-to-head contact against the defenseless Angel catcher pile-driving him into the ground that knocked Lucroy out cold.
Video of the collision between Marisnick and Lucroy. Warning it is graphic.
After a review by the umpires Marisnick was called out for failure-to-avoid the catcher, reversing the initial call of safe by the home plate umpire. When Lucroy came to and sat up blood poured out of his nose and he was taken off the field by a cart and taken to the hospital. Lucroy was diagnosed with a fractured nose and a concussion. He will be re-evaluated later in the week after the swelling has gone down in his nose.
The play looked very dirty even if Marisnick intent was not to hurt Lucroy, it was definitely a reckless play and deserves a suspension for sure.
Here are some tweets of reactions of Angel manager Brad Ausmus, Cardinals All-Star Catcher Yadier Molina, as well as Marisnick’s take on it.
Lucroy will probably miss some significant time as well so that means the Angels have lost three starters and their fourth outfielder in one week’s time as well as one of their top starting pitchers. It goes without saying that Skaggs’ situation is the worst by far as he will never be back with his tragic passing. However, after that happened on Monday you would have hoped the rest of the week would go smoothly for the team while they dealt with the grief of the loss of their friend and teammate.
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The All-Star Break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Angels as the players I’m sure are emotionally and physically drained from the events of the past week. Hopefully Goodwin, Upton, and Lucroy will not miss significant time. Through it all the Angels have persevered and hopefully they can continue to do so.