It has definitely been a turbulent week for the boys in red in Los Angeles, especially from a fan’s perspective. Lets take it back to about a week and a half ago first, to fully understand what has been happening, and then bring it to the present.
Saturday July 9th:
Angels’ 1B C.J. Cron was placed on the 15-day DL with a fractured hand. Cron was hitting .278 with 50 RBI and a .808 OPS this year before heading to the DL. The Angels then optioned LF Ji-Man Choi from Triple-A Salt Lake the same day, presumably to replace Cron at 1B while he was out.
Friday July 15th-Sunday July 17th:
After seeing a solid first baseman go down just before the All Star break, it looked like the offense was about to take another nose dive in Los Angeles. That turned out to be completely false as the Angels powered 16 runs across the plate in three games against the Chicago White Sox. Ji-Man Choi showed up to play during that series however, doing more than enough to fill the void left by C.J. Cron. Choi recorded one hit in each game, including a double in game two, scored two runs and drove in one as well.
Monday July 18th:
This is when the real roller coaster started as the Angels began their three-game series with the Texas Rangers. A shaky first inning by Nick Tropeano left the Halos down 3-0 after one, and after the 2nd Tropeano left with an apparent throwing arm injury. He may have a torn UCL and would be in need of surgery. For Angels fans, it was even more painful because so many pitchers have been sent to the DL this season already. The trend began with C.J. Wilson tearing up his shoulder, and he was followed by fellow starters Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney. For now at least, Tropeano also joins that list. With the game already starting to get out of hand, shaky Jhoulys Chacin came in to take over after the short start, and contrary to previous starts, the man delivered. Chacin threw 4.0 innings allowing no runs and striking out four.
The game pulled a complete 180 in the bottom of the fourth when back to back walks followed by an infield single by Mike Trout loaded the bases up for Albert Pujols with nobody out. The Machine anticlimactically walked, but still pushed in a run in the form of Yunel Escobar. Daniel Nava then punched a sacrifice fly into left to score Kole Calhoun. That was the end of the scoring for that inning but the ball was finally rolling. In the bottom of the 5th, Ji-Man Choi belted a 422′ home run to right field for his first big league home run. In the 6th, Daniel Nava reached on an error by Rougned Odor to score Kole Calhoun and Johnny Giavotella followed up with a single to score Mike Trout.
Ji-Man Choi hit his first major league home run and celebrated with himself.
When Fernando Salas came in to relieve Jhoulys Chacin in the 7th and subsequently allowed an RBI double to tie the game at five all, most fans thought ‘here we go again, just when we make a comeback.’ Fortunately that was the only run of the inning, and the Halos came back strong the next with an RBI fielder’s choice by Kole Calhoun to score Jett Bandy and then a three-run bomb by Mike Trout to score Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun. The game stayed locked at 9-5 until the end after that, giving the Angels the comeback win.
Tuesday July 19th:
A Tim Lincecum start used to mean a near guaranteed win, but since signing with the Angels Lincecum has been shaky to say the least. That trend continued for him on Tuesday, he earned the win but unearned runs were the story of this start. Giving up five runs in 5.0 innings pitched is not typically a recipe for success, however the Halos were able to score seven runs in those innings. The issue for Lincecum was errors, two of his five runs allowed were unearned, and three runs is much easier to manage than five.
On the offensive side, the Halos were slow to start, they only had one hit in the first three innings, but amassed four runs in the 4th inning. The party got started when Kole Calhoun lead the inning off with a walk and then Mike Trout launched a double into center to move Calhoun to third. With nobody out, Albert Pujols blasted a three run home run to bring the score to 3-3. Four batters later Jett Bandy hit a sacrifice fly to score Andrelton Simmons and to take the lead in the game. In the Texas half of the 5th, the Rangers took the lead back and went up 5-4, but Albert Pujols had a different idea when he hit his second three-run blast of the night in the home half of the 5th, driving in Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout along with himself. Jett Bandy added another solo home run in the 6th for good measure but the home run by Pujols in the 5th was the deciding factor. However, in the 7th, Albert Pujols was drilled in the face by a pitch, and every Angels fan held their collective breath. After a few eternally long brief moments, Pujols arose and walked to first, showing he was not injured and everyone in Los Angeles was able to breathe again.
Wednesday July 20th:
On the downside, Hector Santiago could not continue his streak of scoreless outings, although he went five strong innings allowing only three runs and striking out three as well. However, the rest of the game was upside for the Halos as they absolutely tore into the Rangers and Albert Pujols continued his stretch of dominance. Pujols started the scoring frenzy with an RBI single in the bottom of the first to score Yunel Escobar. The next batter, Jefry Marte, then launched a three-run home run to make the game 4-0 Halos. Los Angeles then scored one run in the next three consecutive innings. In the 2nd, Yunel Escobar singled to right scoring Johnny Giavotella, but was thrown out trying to advance to 2nd. In the 3rd inning Albert Pujols scored on a balk by Martin Perez.
Finally in the 4th, Yunel Escobar recorded his second RBI of the game when he hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Todd Cunningham. After the 4th inning the score remained the same at 7-3 until a solo home run in the top of the 9th brought it within three runs. Huston Street then nearly gave every fan a heart attack when he put runners on first and third with two outs, but he was able to strike out Ryan Rua for the Angels win. Everyone in the Halos lineup reached base and all but Jett Bandy recorded at least one hit. The Angels finished the night extending their win streak to 6 games and bringing them out of last place in the AL West.
The Angels look to keep extending their win streak when they take on the Astros in Houston. Matt Shoemaker looks to build off his dominant performance in his last start in game one of the series which begins Friday July 22.
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