Angels pull out a gutsy road win against Rangers

Shohei Ohtani homers twice as the Halos claw back to steal one in Texas.

Whew, let’s take a deep breath. This was the best win of the Angels’ season by far, trailing 5-1 in the 3rd and coming all the way back to tie it in the 7th. It was a rocky start for Tyler Anderson, who gave up 5 ER tonight to a potent Rangers lineup.

Ezequiel Duran homered in the 1st to give the Rangers the early 3-0 lead and after a Mike Trout single made it 3-1 in the 3rd, Josh Jung and Mitch Garver tacked on a few more runs for the Rangers in the bottom half of the inning. But as the Angels have done quite a bit this year, they clawed their way back, scoring 3 times in the 4th to make it a 1 run ballgame, which led to a Shohei Ohtani takeover. A 460-foot bomb to left center followed by a bat flip from Shohei evened things up at 5.

The Angels bullpen stepped up big time tonight, as Chris Devenski, Carlos Estevez, and Sam Bachman all held the Rangers cold for the rest of the game. That is exactly what the elite arms in that Angel pen are there to do, and they stepped up big time tonight. After a series of elite plays by rookie shortstop Zach Neto and Taylor Ward to keep the game tied, it was “Shohei Time” again.

He blasted an opposite-field homer to finally break the game open in the 12th, and the floodgates opened as Chad Wallach sealed the game with a 2-run opposite-field homer of his own. The energy, moxie, and passion that the Angels played with tonight are why Angel fans should be excited for the rest of the season. 

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Shohei Ohtani is the Best Player in the MLB

Yes, shocker I know, but there were some swirling questions around baseball if Shohei was regressing or looked human again after some rough starts and slumps at the plate. I am here to assure you, there is no question about it, Shohei Ohtani is the best player in baseball, and tonight is just one of the reasons why. 2 home runs to tie the game and take the lead respectively, and to do it against the AL West-leading Rangers? Electric.

The Moxie is Unmatched

This team is fired up and rightly so. The Angles are 6 games over .500 (37-31) and are now only 5.5 games back of the Rangers in the AL West. There is moxie, toughness, and no quit in this year’s team, something we haven’t seen in years for this organization. I’ve mentioned the roster revamp and depth additions before, but the energy that this team plays with will keep them competitive for the rest of the year. Being down 5-1 on the road against the 2nd best team in baseball, and grinding out a win will surely pay dividends in that clubhouse.

The Core Bullpen Arms Shine

Following a rough start for Tyler Anderson, the Angels put in their most reliable and dominant arms in the pen tonight to stifle the Rangers. Chris Devenski lowered his ERA to 1.93, Carlos Estevez lowered his to 1.53 in a non-closing situation, and Sam Bachman baffled the Ranger bats in extras to lower his ERA to 0.90. For an organization that has been constantly ridiculed for having a lackluster staff, and for not getting reinforcements when needed, the front office has done a heck of a job this year. Calling up Bachman and Ben Joyce was gutsy, and it has proven to be an excellent move and hey, Joyce avoided a major injury and they should get another one of their elite arms back soon as well in Matt Moore. This bullpen could be scary if they stay healthy.

The Angels will send Jaime Barria out to toe the rubber as the Rangers will make a decision tomorrow on their starter. The first pitch is set for 5:05 PST.