- Eric Martinez
Angels hit 5 home runs leading to a Rangers bullpen meltdown and a win
Overshadowing a victory in the Majors is a very hard thing to do. In this case, everyone is talking about a strategic risk that Angel’s manager, Joe Madden, made to give an intentional walk to Rangers Corey Seager when the bases were already loaded. This had been the first time that Major League Baseball has seen this since 2008 (Josh Hamilton) and 1998 (Barry Bonds). By intentionally walking Seager, Charlie Culberson scored to give the Rangers the lead 4-2 in the 4th inning.
Madden later told reporters, “I thought by walking Seager there, of course, just trying to stay out of a big blow and also just to stir the group up, quite frankly.” He continued to talk about what was the momentum shift in the game, “I walked out there and looked at Warren. I said, How ‘bout….’ And then he kind of said, ‘Putting him on.’ I said, ‘Yeah, how ‘bout putting him on?’ And he smiled. Then the infielders kind of dug it, too.” The risk truthfully turned out to produce a favorable reward. In that inning the Angels gave up an additional 2 runs to take the score to 6-2. With this lead, you would think that the Rangers were set to get their second win of the AL West campaign.
The momentum of the intentional walk was noticeable in the Angels’ dugout. Heading into the top of 5th inning, the Rangers went deeper into their bullpen and brought in relief pitcher Kolby Allard. The Rangers held a 6-2 lead at the top of the inning. After recording the first out, Allard hung an 82 mph changeup that was hit for a home run by Angels’ catcher, Kurt Suzuki. Immediately following the solo home run, the Angels had a base runner when Andrew Velazquez singled center field. The AL MVP stepped to the plate with one man on base. Shohei Ohtani is a very disciplined batter. Taking the first pitch helped his timing. Allard pitched an 85 mph cutter that was crushed to right field for a 2-run home run that traveled over 415 feet. In a blink of an eye, the Angles were now down 6-5. If there was ever a time to use the term “rattled”, it should have been after that home run. The Rangers decided to leave Allard in the ball game to continue the inning. Mike Trout stepped in the batter’s box for the Angels after the home run blast. Trout zoned in on a four-seam fastball to double to left field and get in position to possibly score a run.
Tack on a single to right by Jared Walsh to score Mike Trout and just like that the Angels tied the game 6-6. Rangers’ Manager, Chris Woodward, had seen enough. Relief pitcher, Greg Holland came in to relieve Allard. Holland allowed a single to Anthony Rendon to advance Walsh to third and setting up Brandon Marsh to hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Walsh from third base. The Angels ended a 5 run inning to take the lead.
With the lead completely erased, the Texas Rangers could not produce many base runners or runs. In the final 5 innings, the Angels allowed only 2 hits. Angels added 2 more runs in the late innings that proved to secure the win in Arlington. The Angels even the series 1-1 and head into the weekend with a 4-4 record. The Rangers look to bounce back on Saturday evening with hometown favorite starting pitcher, Taylor Hearn. Angels’ will send veteran Noah Syndergaard to start on Saturday. Final Score was Los Angeles Angels 9, Texas Rangers 6. Winning Pitcher for the Angels: Austin Warren (1-0), Losing pitcher for the Rangers: Kolby Allard (0-1), Save (LAA): Raisel Iglesias (2).