The latest Shohei Day/Star Wars Night marks the return of the Halos from their 2-5 East Coast road trip that has them one game under .500. It was a bit of a weird lineup tonight with no Logan O’Hoppe (10-day IL), no Mike Trout (day off, but with a BB-8 Bobblehead giveaway), Rengifo playing centerfield, and Chad Wallach as the backstop. The team was hoping to get on a bit of a roll on this homestand against lesser teams, starting with a set against the 4-win KC Royals.
Ohtani did not disappoint, despite being on slightly short rest because of his rain-delayed start in Boston a few days ago. He would give us 102 pitches in 7 innings and 11 K’s, with no runs, 2 hits, and 2 walks allowed, including these 2 nasty strikeouts again Witt Jr. and Massey.
On the offensive side, the scoring got started in the third inning from a surprise source, the just up from the minors catcher replacement for O’Hoppe, Chad “Son of Tim” Wallach. He blasted a home run to left after a Neto hit-by-pitch to give the team a 2-0 lead.
Speaking of Neto, he became the first Angel to ever get hit by a pitch in 4 straight games. As a matter of fact, he got hit two straight at-bats tonight, after which he and Royals pitcher Yarbrough gave each other stare-downs and exchanges of words. Good, clean rivalry material!
The Angels had a few other opportunities to add to their lead, especially in the 8th when they loaded the bases with one out, but no more runs were to be had. As Patrick O’Neal called it, the 9th inning would be “Spicy Time” with Quijada coming in to close it out. Back to .500! The Force was with us thanks to Shohei!