The Freeway Series between the LA Angels and the Dodgers has been going since 1997. The Angels have had great success over their I-5 neighbors (70-54) , but have never swept the season series until now.
The 2019 season, especially the last month has been a tumultuous one for our LA Angels. However, recently the Angels, most notably Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, and Albert Pujols have been playing inspired ball. The reason for it could be many but most people want to say it is due to the inspiration of playing for Tyler Skaggs and I wholeheartedly agree with this notion.
I think that it goes even deeper in the fact that the Angels have some players really stepping up their game this past month. Are these players being spurred by the memory of Tyler Skaggs, for sure. However, I think it is also hard work and dedication to improving that is the other part of the equation.
In the past month Albert Pujols has stepped his game up hit .271 with four homers and 26 RBIs. Although the average is not spectacular he is striking out less and walking more. In fact Pujols is ranked as the seventh toughest guy to strike out in the American League this season. Going down swinging only once for every eight plate appearances (41 strikeouts i 331 plate appearances).
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Mike Trout is also having a monster last 30 games hitting .317 with 15 homers and 37 RBIs. We have come to expect that kind of production from Trout, but it is still eye-popping to look at his recent numbers. Trout has benefited from having guys like Kole Calhoun, Shohei Ohtani, and Pujols surrounding him in the batting order.
However it is the emergence of Kole Calhoun that has been a big addition to the Angels line-up. Calhoun is hitting .271 in his last 30 games with nine homers and 18 RBIs which is very a major step up from earlier in this season and from the last two seasons.
The Dodgers were glad to see Calhoun leave Chavez Ravine after his two-day dominance of the team with the best record in the majors. In the short two-game series Calhoun went 6 for 9 with two homers, three doubles, three runs scored and four RBIs. Not to mention Calhoun’s golden arm that ended Tuesday’s game with a laser-beam throw to the plate to nab the NL’s leading MVP candidate, Cody Bellinger at the plate in his attempt to score the game-tying run.
Calhoun has been on fire ever since Tyler Skaggs passed away. In the very first game after Skaggs’ death, Calhoun hit a huge insurance two-run homer and pointed up to the sky in a gesture to Skaggs. Since then Calhoun has come up with big hit after big hit and it was none more apparent than in the last two games against the hated-Dodgers. The Angels scored eight runs in the two-game set and Calhoun had a hand in seven of those eight runs as he drove in four runs and scored three runs.
The Angels rode Calhoun and friends to a heart-stopping 3-2 victory on Wednesday night. Calhoun was again the catalyst as first he doubled in Mike Trout in the first inning to get the Angels back to a fast start. three innings later Calhoun extended the lead with a solo homer making it 2-0. With the Angels leading 3-1 going into the sixth inning Jaime Barria who pitched an outstanding five innings giving up only one run on three hits turned it over to the Angels bullpen and once again they were up to the task. The bullpen pitched four innings giving up on two hits and one run in locking down the series sweep.
It has been an amazing last two days watching the Angels take it to the team with the best record in baseball, who also happens to be their biggest rival.
Every time it seemed like the Angels needed a lift Calhoun was able to deliver. With Trout in an incredible hot streak and Pujols warming up the Angels have seen their offense wake up. Now if they can get the pitching staff to hold their own we could be in for a fun last two months.
So fasten your seat belts and hold on tight it’s Rally Time.