The LA Angels break out of slump with two big wins in Boston
By David Rice
The LA Angels have been struggling mightily over the past two weeks losing 12 of their last 14 games including eight in a row. Just when it couldn’t get any worse, it got better in a hurry against the Red Sox.
The LA Angels got demolished on Friday night in Boston losing 16-4 despite taking an early 3-0 lead. Over the recent Angels bad stretch they have been outscored by 51 runs in the past 14 games. Boston has never been a great place for the Angels as they only won a series in Boston five times in the past 20 years. So with the Angels dropping the first two games it was not a surprise to many people.
So on Saturday afternoon the Angels took the field hoping to break their slide. Justin Upton got them started by hitting a first inning opposite-field three-run homer to get the ball rolling. Mike Trout continued the surge with a deep blast over the Green Monster for his 39th homer of the season, a two-run blast to left to make it 5-1. The home run was Trout’s first home run ever in Fenway Park.
The Angels put up a seven-spot in the seventh inning with Shohei Ohtani and David Fletcher both coming through with two-run singles and Luis Rengifo and Wilfred Tovar also chipped in RBI-singles to make the lead 12-2. Three more innings of relief pitching and the losing streak was over. The Angels had not scored in double-digits since the night of the combined no-hitter honoring Tyler Skaggs which was almost a month earlier.
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What did the Angels do for an encore? They came in and played another strong game against Boston on Sunday, jumping out again to an early 3-0 lead, but they could not hold it this time as rookie Patrick Sandoval got touched for four runs in 4.2 innings. Despite the pitching line being less than stellar, Sandoval did not perform that poorly. His biggest issue was four walks, three of which came in the second inning when Sandoval walked in a run.
The bullpen came in and was stellar in relief of Sandoval pitching 5.1 scoreless innings, including 2.1 by Cam Bedrosian who threw 37 pitches, the second-most in his career.
The Angels offense wasn’t able to do much until the 8th inning when Calhoun ace up and smashed his 26th homer of the season off of Matt Barnes to tie the game at 4. Calhoun’s blast helped the Red Baron match his career-high for home runs in a season.
Then it was the newest Angel Anthony Bemboom‘s chance to shine. First Bemboom caught reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts stealing second base to stop a potential Red Sox rally in the 8th inning. Then with two outs in the top of the 10th and Calhoun on third base, Bemboom delivered a RBI-single to right field driving in the winning run.
Hansel Robles pitched a solid 10th inning striking out two Red Sox to close out the game and the Angels had a split of the four-game series and some much needed momentum coming back to Anaheim this week for a seven-game home stand.
While the Angels are 11 games back in the wild-card standings with not much hope of making the playoffs it is still nice to see the team fighting and making plays in key moments to win some games. Finishing over .500 is still a realistic goal and while you get nothing for doing so it would be a nice accomplishment especially considering all the team has been through this season with injuries and the death of one of their own in Tyler Skaggs. The excitement that followed a sweep of the Dodgers may not be there, but I still believe this group of Angels deserves to hear the Skaggs catchphrase: We’re Nasty!!! At least for the last two days the Angels were nasty lets hope it continues.