ANAHEIM, Calif. — In their first home series since the trade deadline, one where they opted to keep Shohei Ohtani and bring in several win-now pieces, the Angels played in front of a noticeably energized crowds. 34,479 fans packed The Big A on Friday night after 37,701 came out the night before.
It has been nearly a decade since the Angels last made the postseason, and 14 years since they last won a playoff game. While fans have gotten to watch Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani as a duo the last five seasons of that period, their greatness has made losing even tougher to stomach, which is why so many appreciate the Angels going all-in this season.
While critics can debate whether or not the Angels made the right decision to keep Ohtani while dealing from their already poorly-ranked farm system to bolster the team around him, it’s clear the city of Anaheim is ready to back a playoff team again. After a gut-wrenching loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night, which saw Carlos Estevez blow his first save of the season in 24 opportunities, the Angels drew another large crowd in Game 2 of the series.
Headlined by a three-run game-tying blast by Mike Moustakas in the 3rd inning, Angels Stadium reached a volume on Friday that was about as loud as it’s been since Shohei Ohtani was announced on opening night. It wasn’t quite a capacity crowd in attendance, but it was a charged up crowd that for the second-straight night brought the noise.
Entering play on Friday night the Angels were just 4.5 games back in the Wild Card race and still very much gunning for that final spot — even with the odds getting slimmer by the day. Hoping to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss in the series opener, the Angels showed real fight after falling behind 4-0 before they even stepped to the plate. Tying the game with homers in the 3rd and the 5th, the Angels battled, but once again sent their fans home disappointed.
Had a game like this occurred even a month ago, there may have been a morale victory found in the team’s overall fight and resilience. But with where the Angels are in the standings, and this being their fourth-straight loss since going all-in at the deadline, there is no such feeling. Manager Phil Nevin could not have made this any clearer when speaking to the media after the game, saying, “During the game there are certainly positives, yes. But at this time, at this point in the game, there’s no time to sit here after a game and think about positives. Positives is winning games, and we’re not right now.”