ANAHEIM, Calif. – Following a three-game sweep over the Yankees, the Angels continued their chase for a wild card spot and kept playoff hopes alive. Los Angeles defeated the Pirates in their series-opener on Friday, 8-5.
Both teams got their bats going to collect eight total home runs across eight and a half innings.
With the recent win the Halos advance to 50-48. They’re winning streak extended to 4 in a row and 5-of-7 out of the All Star break.
Shohei Ohtani started on the mound and pitched for 6 ⅓ innings. During that time he allowed five runs on six hits, including a career-high four homers, and a walk. Ohtani struck out nine for a 3.71 ERA.
Here are three takeaways from Friday’s matchup:
Halos make franchise history
Over 40 years ago, the Angels hit a home run in 18 consecutive games to set a franchise record. Fast forward to their series opener with Pittsburgh in 2023, and the Halos had a chance to make history once more (even in the midst of injuries and trade deadline rumors).
In the fourth inning of Friday’s game, the team did just that and then some. Down one run with no outs, Mike Moustakas hit a three-run homer and broke the long-standing record.
The excitement didn’t stop there, though. The Angels went on to add three home runs in the span of two frames thanks to the bats of Trey Cabbage, Zach Neto and Taylor Ward. The team went on to beat Pittsburgh, 8-5.
Shohei Ohtani approaching the trade deadline
The Halos are five games behind the wild card spot and are hovering around .500 as they come up on the trade deadline. Come Aug.1, the toughest decision will revolve around two-way superstar Ohtani, who is set to be a free agent after this season.
Angels manager Phil Nevin says he and his team know what position they’re in, but their focus remains on winning every game, right now.
“You can’t ignore the talk and what’s going on, you hear it every day,” stated Nevin. “The more games we win, the better chance we have to have Shohei as our teammate the rest of the year.”
Since joining the roster, Ohtani helped the Halos reach the brink of many postseasons; their last appearance in the playoffs was back in 2014. It’s likely that if the Halos manage a hot streak, Ohtani will stay through the end of the year. If they don’t, then the organization will trade Ohtani and interested buyers flooding in.
Until then, the Texas Rangers are the team to watch for if Ohtani becomes available. According to the Athletic, “the addition of Ohtani to the [Rangers] offense could make it as potent as the Braves.”
Mike Trout is throwing again
Two weeks after suffering a fractured hamate bone in his left hand, Halos star Mike Trout had his stitches removed and is back to throwing with some mobility work.
In the clubhouse Friday, Trout told reporters his ability to swing again depends on how quickly his incision heals. While both he and Nevin haven’t pinpointed a return date,Trout assured the media he’s eager to get back to his team and aid in their playoff push. “I’m probably driving the training staff crazy right now,” said Trout.
With all of the smirks and cracked jokes it seems like Trout is feeling good, but the road to recovery is still unfinished.
As for the rest of the squad, the Halos look to complete their series with Pittsburgh a win and gain traction towards a wild card spot.