What's the opposite of buyer's remorse? Is there a term for that? If not, we may need to invent one, because the Los Angeles Angels' trade deadline shopping spree is only a couple days old, but already it's looking like it could make a difference in this playoff race.
Unless the Angels win the World Series this year on the back of a Game 7 Lucas Giolito complete game shutout and a walk-off grand slam from C.J. Cron, giving the team a final grade for their trade deadline decision to go all gas, no brakes will likely take years. For now though, in the words of Ben Stiller in Meet the Fockers, "I'm a lookin', and I'm a likin'."
The Angels won the opening game of their series against baseball's most dangerous team, the Atlanta Braves, on Monday night, getting contributions from newcomers Randal Grichuk, C.J. Cron, and Reynaldo Lopez along the way.
The Angels took a big gamble in becoming buyers at the trade deadline, but they could be the deadline's biggest winners when it's all said and done.
Grichuk extended the Angels' lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning with a blast off Atlanta starter Charlie Morton, while his travel buddy and fellow former Rockie C.J. Cron clubbed an RBI single off a high fastball in the ninth to push the Halos' lead to 4-1. Together, the two made a bit of history.
Reynaldo Lopez was the most impressive of the bunch, giving Carlos Estevez a day off after the Angels' shutdown closer got the save Sunday night against Toronto. Lopez was fantastic, allowing only two walks while closing the door with a five-out save that included strikeouts of Ronald Acuna, Marcell Ozuna, and Eddie Rosario.
For Grichuk, this was his debut in an Angels uniform, while Cron made his return after spending his first four years in LA before playing for the Rays, Twins, Tigers, and Rockies. This was Lopez's second appearance since leaving the White Sox (his first also yielded no runs). Angels fans have to be thrilled to see the new guys contributing so quickly because with a three-game deficit to make up in the Wild Card race and 55 games to go, time is of the essence.
The AL West title is still very much in play, too, with the Rangers just 4.5 games up and the Astros just half a game back of first themselves. August's schedule is absolutely medieval for the Angels, though, and we should find out quickly what the team is made of. The month opens with two more against the Braves, followed by a seven-game homestand against the Mariners and Giants. Then comes the most important stretch of the season, a six-game road trip to Houston and Texas, followed by six at home against the Rays and the resurgent Reds.
To navigate such a minefield, the Angels' new guys will need to prove that last night wasn't beginner's luck. With injured players up and down the roster, Grichuk and Cron are going to get all the at-bats they can handle, while Lopez will get every opportunity to be the prime set-up man for Estevez.
We haven't even mentioned arguably the biggest name the Angels acquired, Lucas Giolito, who was solid but not spectacular in his debut Friday, giving up three runs in 5.1 innings while taking the loss to the Blue Jays. The Angels need Giolito to tap into the pitcher that received Cy Young votes three years in a row in Chicago, because although Shohei Ohtani is the closest thing we've ever had to a player that could do it all himself, he can still only pitch every five days.
For too long, the Angels have had front row seats as other teams battled it out in front of them. This time, they've decided to get in the ring themselves. The additions of Grichuk, Cron, Lopez, and Giolito give them a fighting chance in what promises to be a slugfest of a pennant race, but no matter what happens these next two months, Angels fans have to feel good to finally be in the fight.