I thought the win in St. Louis when the Los Angeles Angels came back in the ninth would be their best win of the season for a while. The Angels were down one entering the ninth and came back to win. Jake Lamb went deep to tie it, Mike Trout two batters later gave them the lead. That victory was topped by the dramatic win last night.
The Angels opened up a huge six-game homestand last night against the Texas Rangers. The Rangers entered the night in first place in the AL West, and this was the Angels' chance to prove they could compete with good teams.
For much of the night the Angels no-showed. All of a sudden, the team turned it around and won. As was the case in St. Louis, the bullpen's contributions cannot go unnoticed.
LA Angels bullpen is key to two huge comeback wins
On that aforementioned night in St. Louis, Shohei Ohtani had good moments on the mound as he struck out 13 batters, but allowed four runs in five innings. The Angels had a 3-1 lead at one point, but when Ohtani departed, the team was trailing 4-3.
The Angels stayed within striking distance thanks to two scoreless innings from Chase Silseth and a scoreless inning from Ryan Tepera. They scored three runs in the top of the ninth, and then Carlos Estevez nailed down the save.
Last night it felt like even with the bullpen doing its thing, it wouldn't matter. The Angels, playing their biggest game of the season, looked lifeless. They were trailing 4-0 thanks in large part to a Taylor Ward misplay and a Zach Neto error. The offense was generating nothing. All of a sudden, a flip switched.
The Angels scored a run in the eighth, and then with two outs in the ninth, pulled off three runs to tie. After a scoreless top of the tenth, Zach Neto scored the winning run on a wild pitch, and the Angels had completed their epic comeback against their division rivals.
The Angels have now won five games in a row, and the bullpen is a huge reason why. On Sunday, the bullpen followed Jose Suarez's five scoreless innings with four innings of their own to help the Halos shut the Brewers out and salvage the final game of that series.
On Tuesday in St. Louis, the bullpen helped hold an Angels lead with four scoreless innings. The next day was that comeback win in which the bullpen contributed another four scoreless. The final game of the series saw Aaron Loup allow two runs in relief, but the rest of the bullpen allowed nothing in 3.1 innings. Last night, Jaime Barria allowed one unearned run in four innings of work, and Carlos Estevez stranded the ghost runner.
The Angels bullpen minus Loup has gone 20.1 innings without allowing an earned run in this five-game winning streak. To go back even further, the Angels bullpen not including Loup has not allowed an earned run since Oakland came to town when Jose Quijada allowed one earned run and the team still won.
It's still hard for me to trust anyone not named Carlos Estevez or Matt Moore late in close games, but this bullpen deserves a boatload of credit for the way they've pitched lately. It's a huge reason the Angels are starting to win games consistently.
The Angels bullpen has skyrocketed all the way up to third in the league with a 2.85 ERA. They lead all of baseball with a 2.3 bullpen fWAR. Pitchers have settled nicely into roles, and the unit is clicking at the right time. We'll see how long it lasts, but it's time to give the bullpen that everyone (including myself) bashed earlier this season, some credit.