Good morning and Happy Friday! I got an early start to the morning to get a quick nine in with my son, and I’d say I’m having a much better morning than the Los Angeles Angels, who again found a new way to painfully lose a baseball game last night.
Angels Gonna Angel
The Angels have found some pretty funny ways to lose this season, but this one takes the cake. The Halos hit a franchise-best seven home runs today, all solo home runs, and two of them came off the bat of Shohei Ohtani. They lost 8-7 to the Oakland A’s, the worst team in baseball by record.
Ohtani, who has 24 home runs and a .860 OPS on the season, had two home runs under his belt and came to the plate in the ninth with a chance for a third and a chance to tie the game, but it was not to be as Ohtani flew out to end the game.
The Angels became the sixth team in MLB history to hit seven home runs and lose a game. The Toronto Blue Jays did it in 2020. The White Sox did it in 2016. It’s not unheard of, it’s certainly rare, and it’s even more certainly a pretty Angels way to lose.
Shohei Ohtani has a 2.83 ERA and 99 strikeouts to go along with his monster numbers at the dish, and the Angels are 5-0 in games that he has started on the mound since June 2. They’re 12-38 since June 2 in games started by everyone else. They’re now 44-61 on the season after starting the season 22-14 before going 3-10 to close the month of May.
Mike Trout has 24 home runs and a .974 OPS, and both Trout and Ohtani were voted starters for the AL All-Star team last month. Still, everything outside of Trout and Ohtani has gone as wrong as possible for the Angels this season.
What a disaster. Angels beat writer Sam Blum has more on the insanity in Anaheim this season:
More on the Shohei Trade Talks
Jon Heyman penned a story on Shohei Ohtani and the “trade talks” surrounding the superstar that took place before the deadline. Well, they sort of took place. Teams called; roughly a dozen, according to Heyman. The Yankees were one. We know the White Sox were another. The Padres called, according to Heyman. Cubs President Jed Hoyer says he called. Still, Angels owner Art Moreno didn’t even want to hear what the offers were.
Moreno wasn’t entertaining the idea of trading his two-way superstar; that’s on pace for a second straight MVP award (although Aaron Judge will provide him some stiff competition). With Trout and Rendon sidelined, Ohtani being traded was never a real possibility. But it should be in the future unless Moreno wants to see Ohtani walk and the Angels receive nothing in return.
A rebuild or reset is needed in Anaheim, and Ohtani is going to want to go somewhere to win and somewhere where he’ll get a significant raise. Heyman quotes one rival executive who says that “in fourteen months, he’s out the door, and once he’s out the door, he’s never coming back.”
Well, that’s pretty damning. Maybe we see the Angels field offers for Ohtani. More likely next summer, though. Either way, the Ohtani experience in Anaheim seems to be one coming to an end.
Mets Win Series Opener Against Atlanta
The Mets and Braves opened a big four-game series on Thursday night, with New York up three and a half games over Atlanta entering play yesterday. An RBI single by Pete Alonso in the first, a solo home run by Tyler Naquin in the second and a two-run home run by Alonso, and another solo shot by Daniel Vogelbach in the third gave the Mets an early 5-0 lead at Citi Field.
The Braves would chip away, scoring three in the fourth and one in the sixth, but the Mets added one for good measure on Tyler Naquin’s second home run of the evening, and then Buck Showalter turned to Edwin Díaz for the six-out save in the eighth inning. Díaz delivered.
The Mets’ win pushed their lead over the Braves to four and a half games, with four more between the NL East on the slate for this weekend and seven more over the season’s final two months. The NL East race is far from over, but the Mets got a big victory and breathing room last night with their series-opening win.
Odds and Ends
- Verlander 15-3, 1.73 ERA. Justin Verlander continued his incredible season on Thursday by throwing six scoreless innings against the Guardians, and Verlander reached the 130 innings mark, triggering his $25 million player option for 2023. Verlander is 15-3 with a 1.73 ERA this season, and he joined some elite company in that regard while padding his case for the AL Cy Young award. If Verlander wins the award, it’ll be the fifth of his career, and it would tie Randy Johnson for the second-most all-time.
- The Cardinals topped the Cubs on Thursday night and have won seven of their last 10 games, and are now tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the lead in the NL Central at 57-48.
- Vladdy SMOKED this one last night, registering at 115.4 mph!
- While he was warming up ahead of the bottom of the fifth inning, Clayton Kershaw met with trainers on the mound and eventually left the game with a back injury. Dave Roberts said they would get tests done when they return to Los Angeles and go from there.
- Noah Syndergaard made his Phillies debut Thursday night and picked up a victory in a rain-shortened contest with the Washington Nationals. Syndergaard was excited for his first start in Philadelphia and said of his new team: “They expect us to win, and I’m going to do my part to make sure that we succeed.” Syndergaard allowed four runs and 11 hits over five innings, the second most hits allowed in a start in his career.
- Miguel Cabrera hinted that the 2022 season may be his last despite the future Hall of Famer being under contract for one more season in Detroit in 2023. Cabrera said he’s “focused on today” right now but admitted that the thoughts are there: “You’ got to understand your body. I understand mine and my place on this team. I’ve got to talk to my agent, the GM. I’ve got to talk to everybody and see the plan for next year.”