It has been a whirlwind for the LA Angels over the past couple of weeks. Last Friday they purged a lot of emotion in honoring Tyler Skaggs memory with a masterful all-around performance. Tuesday night they stood for injured teammate Jonathan Lucroy & won again.
The LA Angels have been dealing with a lot of things lately and they are coming together as one to push through the tough times. On the Sunday before the All-Star Break the Angels lost a brutal game against the Houston Astros blowing two different leads and losing in 10 innings.
That wasn’t the full story though, as Houston outfielder Jake Marisnick steamrolled Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy, knocking him out cold. Marisnick’s football-like almost tackle of Lucroy broke the catcher’s nose and gave him a concussion. Lucroy is scheduled to miss up to three weeks with the injuries he sustained in the collision.
On Tuesday night the Angels squared off against the AL West Division leading Astros in the second game of a crucial four-game series. The Angels won the opener 9-6 on Monday night with no incident, but on Tuesday with Marisnick in the line-up you knew there could be some fireworks.
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The Angels provided plenty of fireworks early as they scored six times in the first inning off of Astros opener Carlos Rondon. The big blow was delivered by the Astro killer, Albert Pujols, who had his second straight three RBI night as he laced a bases-clearing double down the right field line to put the Angels up 5-0. Luis Rengifo would follow two batters later with an RBI-triple that Marisnick could not come up with that extended the lead to 6-0. Andrew Heaney battled for 4.1 innings giving up only two runs despite allowing eight hits. Reliever Noe Ramirez got out of the 5th inning jam allowing the Angels to keep their 6-2 lead as he snuffed out the Astros rally.
In the 6th inning was when things would get interesting as Marisnick would lead-off the inning. Ramirez would uncork a high inside fastball that would catch Marisnick in the upper back area. Marisnick calmly went to first base and you may have thought that situation was over. However, the Astros bench started yelling from their dugout taking exception to the “beanball” complaining that it was too close to the head area.
Lance McCullers Jr. and Justin Verlander were the main players yelling out of the dugout and Albert Pujols, who was playing first base, turned and responded to the Astros dugout and gesturing towards McCullers and Verlander. Both benches and bullpens cleared, but order was quickly restored and Marisnick even motioned to his teammates to go back to the dugout and not worry about him getting hit. The incident was something you could almost have expected, and thankfully no one got hurt this time around.
Here is a video of the incident courtesy of Fox Sports West:
The Angels tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th as Rengifo doubled to score Brian Goodwin and give the Angels a 7-2 lead. The Angels bullpen put the game to bed by pitching 4.2 of scoreless relief to help the Angels take their second straight victory over the Astros and fifth straight win overall since the All-Star Break. They will face a much tougher test Wednesday night with Gerrit Cole on the mound.
Wins like this are important and just as important was the fact that the Angels stood up for their teammates once again. It is not good to throw at someone intentionally, which is what appears to have happened, but it also was not good what Marisnick did to Lucroy. While some may feel that now there should another retaliation, it should end there.
Things like what happened to Tyler Skaggs, and also Jonathan Lucroy were both very tough situations to have to deal with as a team being that both players are/were teammates and friends. Good teams, which the Angels are becoming, know that each player has the others backs. Hopefully the Angels will keep rolling back into the wild-card race.
All in all it was another goodnight in Anaheim. #RIP#45. We’reNasty!!!