The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim faced the Detroit Tigers on Monday night, with the Tigers escaping with a 7-2 win. While the final score of the game seems like an ordinary game, this game had significance for both teams. This was the first game for either team, and only the third in MLB history, to be aired live and free for all viewers on YouTube.
The inning opening run from Miguel Cabrera made the extra exposure sweet for those still sticking with Cabrera as the rightful 2012 MVP. Cabrera is no stranger to coming through on big stages, starting way back in his rookie season as a member of the 2003 Florida Marlins. With cord cutters across the country watching, Cabrera came through late in the game, driving in two runs with an 8th inning single, giving the Tigers some breathing room. Jordan Zimmerman, who hasn’t been sharp at all this season, was shockingly sharp with his slider. Shane Greene was strong in what turned out to be a potential trade audition, as he was traded to the Braves on Wednesday. The Tigers improved to 31-71 on the season with this win, and actually followed it up with another win on Wednesday night. This series turned into their first series win since taking two out of three games from Baltimore at the end of May.
The State of the Angels
As disappointing as the loss was for the Angels (they are currently 56-54), being the only free baseball choice for numerous countries provided an opportunity to introduce themselves to the national stage. The expanded audience was treated to some really entertaining clip packages about Mike Trout, some of Andrelton Simmons’ defensive wizardry, and another home run from Kole Calhoun, his 24th of the season. However, what many likely witnessed with series losses to the Tigers and the Orioles, was a justification for not being a buyer at the trade deadline.
The LAA Front Office has been diligent in rebuilding their farm system, understanding the value of not just bringing up new bats and arms to help give Trout more opportunities, but also holding assets desirable to other teams looking to move proven arms. Even though Thor would have looked mighty nice with a red jersey, and Gerrit Cole went to high school in the neighborhood, it’s hard to go after players of that caliber when you can’t beat the cellar dwellers of the American League. An addition definitely would have helped in a one-game Wild Card match-up, but with the most difficult schedule remaining and currently being six games back in the wild card standings, the path to one of the two Wild Card berths is littered with dampened expectations.
With the recent evidence and current position, it makes perfect sense that the Halos decided to stand pat at the deadline. There is talent on this club already, and these players have already bonded so closely in the face of unimaginable circumstances. Begging off from being deadline buyers, though, can be just as easily explained as believing this team is special already, and that they deserve a chance to complete a fairy tale season.
The Legacy of Mike Trout
Since Trout’s first legendary season in 2012, he has already cemented an All-Time legacy, finishing 1st or 2nd in MVP voting for six of his first seven seasons (finishing 4th in 2017 despite 33 home runs, 22 stolen bases and a MLB-leading 1.071 OPS and AL-best .442 OBP). On computer screens, projectors, tablets and phones across the country however, the easiest Stat of the Night to remember was the total of postseason wins next to Mike Trout’s name at the bottom of that graphic — 0. For eight seasons, Mike Trout has been the epitome of the player and leader the Angels need, though perhaps not the one they deserve right now. This will likely be the most difficult season Trout and the rest of this Angels squad ever plays through. The Angels climb to the playoffs, and hopefully Trout’s climb up the postseason wins chart, needed a solid arm to help solidify their rotation. The Angels organization decided that it wasn’t worth it to go get that quality arm before this trade deadline.
Monday Night Wrap-Up
Monday night was another step in the right direction for better MLB marketing. Accessibility is important, particularly in a culture that makes three-hour focused time commitments difficult at best. All fans being able to pull up this game on YouTube means more fans had a chance to see two-time MVP Mike Trout, two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera and three-time MVP Albert Pujols. For those who love baseball, a reminder of why we care so much. For those who stopped watching “TV” long ago and might not have been out to a game in a while, this was an announcement that there is more going on during the sports summer than NBA trade rumors. Mike Trout finished behind Miguel Cabrera again in terms of making a big impact on a big stage, but this might be the wake-up call needed to give Trout the chance to really end the debate.
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