There wasn’t much for the Angels (9-10) to cheer about in Saturday’s 16-2 blowout loss to the Astros (10-10). The Halos lost their season-high fourth-straight game and fell under .500 for the first time in 2021. If there was anything to smile for, it came in the form of two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani scored the Angels’ second run of the game on a towering 413-foot blast to center field with a 108.3 MPH exit velocity. The ball went over the yellow line, but hit the brick wall and bounced back into play. Better safe than sorry, Ohtani went into a full sprint around the bases before realizing it was ruled a home run.
The long ball was Othani’s sixth of the season, giving him 15 RBI and adding to his slash line of .292/.329/.653 in 72 at-bats. It also brought the Angels within a run, but unfortunately the Astros would score 13 unanswered to finish the game.
Angels: Shohei Ohtani had a home-run sprint and made his outfield debut in a blowout loss.
The blowout led to backup catcher Anthony Bemboom playing in right field and later taking the mound. It also featured Ohtani making his MLB outfield debut in left field.
It was the first time Ohtani was used as a position player in the major leagues and the first time since 2014 in Japan when he played as an outfielder. He borrowed Justin Upton’s glove for the occasion.
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Manager Joe Maddon said it was Ohtani’s idea given the lack of depth on the team. Mike Trout remains day-to-day after getting hit by a pitch on Thursday, while Anthony Rendon, Max Stassi, Juan Lagares, and Felix Pena are all on the 10-Day IL. The Halos are also without Dexter Fowler who suffered a season-ending ACL tear on April 8.
The depth and pitching were considered weaknesses of this team going into the season and now it’s beginning to show during the last ten games where the Halos are 3-7. The loss also drops the Angels’ record against AL West opponents to 2-5 on the season. The Halos will have Sunday’s game in Houston, followed by a three-game series in Texas and a three-game series in Seattle to end their ten game road trip.
This stretch of matchups versus division opponents would have been a perfect time to take an early advantage in the West, but instead the Angels are letting it slip through their fingers.
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Things won’t get any easier for the shorthanded Halos who are currently in the midst of 23 games in 24 days. The next scheduled off days will be on April 29 and May 13.
The reinforcements from the injured list can’t come soon enough, otherwise general manager Perry Minasian will need to seriously consider a change of scenery from the Angels’ supporting cast.