Angels 6, Astros 5 (11)
In some ways, the 2020 Angels season has seemed exactly like every other Angels season from the past five years. As the calendar flips to September, the Angels are once again on the outside looking in as far as the playoff picture goes. Despite the expanded postseason field, Fangraphs gives the Angels less than a 1% chance of joining the dance.
Yet in so many other ways, this season is different from the others. The pandemic is the most obvious cause, and it has been discussed ad nauseam. The slow ongoing march on time is one of the others. The general gist remains the same—Mike Trout flanked by an aging Albert Pujols and a merry band of brothers who simply cannot get the job done—but one looks up and sees that Trout is almost thirty.
He’s racked up the accolades, and although he probably won’t get a 4th AL MVP award in 2020, the counting stats are racking up. Regardless of era, one stat has always remained eye-popping: the home run.
2️⃣9️⃣9️⃣ pic.twitter.com/at4ZiqOCeB— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) September 5, 2020
Here’s Trout’s 299th home run of his career, tied for the most in Angels history. He’s 29. It’s not the right place or time to go into the travesty that is his lack of a playoff resume, but just know that I constantly think about it, and I’m saddened by it. It doesn’t matter. Trout comes to the ballpark every day and competes. Friday night, he was mic’d up, which was an interesting choice by the networks. The team is 13-25. From what they displayed to the viewers, Trout was his normal self, cracking jokes, pumping up teammates, and wondering what type of pitch he freaking blasted out to dead center field, like any normal player. He’s so much more than your normal player.
As for the game today, Lance McCullers Jr. left early, as after the Trout home run, he walked the bases loaded and appeared to be nursing an injury. Here’s hoping he feels better.
Jared Walsh is back in the lineup, and he hit the ball hard Friday, including this home run:
Walsh dead center! 💪 pic.twitter.com/fUHHD48vO5— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) September 5, 2020
On the pitching side, Dylan Bundy once again twirled a masterpiece. Struggling early on, he ended up going seven strong innings, allowing six hits, two runs, walking one, and striking out eight. He added a memorable GIF to Angels lore when Joe Maddon got up the bullpen in the fifth inning:
The 2020 season is all but over, but time marches on. Something magical needs to happen in 2021.