Angels 4, Astros 5 (10)
It probably should have been foreseen, in the very first inning, that it would not be a good night.
The Angels got two baserunners to reach, when Jared Walsh hit a dribbler up the first base line.
A better view up the line: pic.twitter.com/msi4YGAPRi— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) April 24, 2021
Now, according to interpretations I’ve seen, a runner must take two consecutive steps outside the runner area to be interfering with the play, with the line counting as part of the area. Walsh’s right foot appears to come down on the chalk multiple times, making it impossible for him to take consecutive steps outside the area. (MLB, if you’re going to interpret the rule in a black-and-white fashion, perhaps you should make this reviewable? Nearly derailed a World Series game.) Needless to say, the Angels did not score and left two runners stranded. They did the same in the second inning. Greinke appeared to get into a groove after that.
In the fifth, Scott Schebler, who appears to be becoming a fan favorite, doubled and David Fletcher singled. Shohei Ohtani lined a nice little double into right.
Jared Walsh proceeded by massaging a single far enough to score another run.
Meanwhile, Andrew Heaney was in cruise control. After going six innings with one hit and nine strikeouts (no walks!?), Heaney started the seventh despite a pitch count approaching 100. His second hit of the game got him pulled. Now, one hit probably shouldn’t have gotten him pulled, especially for Aaron Slegers, and I disagreed with the decision in the moment, but when fans complain about every single bullpen decision in hindsight, the bite of the argument loses its sting. Slegers might be the third-best guy in a struggling bullpen right now, but when you complain about bringing in a better guy in Mike Mayers for just a second consecutive game (not even a third or fourth in a row), it dilutes your credibility for the next time you complain (like tonight). Your best pitchers should pitch as much as they can. Chris Rodriguez seems to be getting babied along, so maybe he wasn’t an option. You still have to cover eight outs anyway, so Mayers and Iglesias would have been factors anyway. Heaney probably should have gone longer, and Maddon will be asked about that after the game.
Furthermore, taking him out after one baserunner is justifiable in today’s game, and it has happened many, many times before. We can also be more selective and thoughtful about which decisions to criticize, so each one holds more value.
Anyway, this happened.
José Rojas made a baserunning blunder in the ninth, and Mike Mayers made things interesting in the bottom half of the inning, but Tony Watson got out of the inning and sent it to extras.
In the tenth, David Fletcher flipped a ball into right-center for a quintessential Fletch hit.
David Fletcher with another big hit in extra innings pic.twitter.com/AkQeYnTUyq— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) April 24, 2021
Dusty Baker decides to IBB Jared Walsh to get to Albert Pujols (a smart move, any way you cut it), and Pujols does this.
Raisel Iglesias came in and couldn’t shut the door, allowing three runs (two earned, with the runner starting on second), with someone named Robel Garcia delivering the knockout punch. Jason Castro “doubled” down the right field line, but because the umpires are having a tough time distinguishing fair and foul this year (including the Pujols home run last night), replay could not do anything about a potentially game-changing call.