In a season that will be remembered by an MVP season and a tragic loss, there were some great moments to recall.
A Tribute to Skaggs
The Angels returned home on Friday, July 12 from a horrific road trip to Texas which began with the passing of starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs in Arlington. With Tyler’s mother, Debbie, in attendance to throw out the first pitch, the Angels rallied together for the ultimate tribute to their fallen teammate. With all the Angels wearing Skaggs’ No. 45 jersey, the Angels combined to score 13 runs, led by Mike Trout’s two-run first inning home run which began his eventual 3-for-4, six RBI performance.
Trout’s finest single-game performance of this potential MVP season would amazingly be overshadowed by Skaggs’ fellow Angels pitchers.
Taylor Cole would open the game with two perfect innings against the Seattle Mariners’ lineup. Fellow pitcher Felix Pena would enter the game in the third inning and pitch seven no-hit innings, completing a combined no-hitter of the Mariners. Pena and his fellow Angels completed their tribute to Skaggs by removing their No. 45 jerseys and each covering the pitching mound with them during their post-game celebration.
Shohei Ohtani Hits for the Cycle
The Angels faced off against Ryan Yarborough and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Shohei Ohtani spent his season confined to the role of designated hitter but had a career night at the plate. In Ohtani’s first plate appearance, he hit a three-run home run to left-center field. In his second trip to the plate, he doubled to left field to lead off the third inning. Ohtani came to the plate with two outs in the fifth inning and tripled to right field. Pujols would follow him with a home run driving Ohtani in from third. Ohtani came to bat with two outs in the seventh inning and lined a 3-2 pitch to center field to complete his first MLB cycle. Ohtani would finish his second MLB season hitting .286 with 18 home runs and 62 runs batted in.
Tommy La Stella’s Third Multi-Home Run Game by in 30 Days
Tommy La Stella entered the season having hit 10 home runs in his five previous major league seasons. On May 9 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich., Tommy La Stella would hit two home runs and drive in four, leading the Angels to a 13-0 victory versus the Tigers. It would be La Stella’s eighth and ninth home runs of the season and his third multi-home run game since his two-homer game against the Brewers in Anaheim.
La Stella would finish his season with a broken leg in Texas in July but not before completing his All-Star season hitting .295 with 16 home runs and 44 runs batted in — all career highs for the thirty-year-old utility infielder.
Angels Sweep Freeway Series
The Angels took both games they hosted against their National League rivals to the north, each by a score of 5-3. On July 24, the Angels completed their two-game sweep against the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine giving the Angels four-game season sweep versus L.A. Hansel Robles saved both games giving the Angels keeping the Angels four-game winning streak alive. The two-game sweep placed the Angels four-and-a-half games back in the Wild Card standings. The Halos would be closer to playoff contention the remainder of the season.
Andrew Heaney’s Emotional Return to Texas
The Angels’ return to Texas in August was a trip the team did not want to make as it brought back the horrible memories of July’s loss of Skaggs in that city. Skaggs’s best friend on the club, Andrew Heaney, took the mound in Arlington in the first game of a double-header making up for that postponed game in July. Heaney provided a tribute of his own for Skaggs that day, pitching eight innings and allowing only one run on four hits while striking out a career-high 14 Texas Rangers.
Angels Down in The Farm
A few years ago, Jahmai Jones was the Angels’ top offensive prospect as a very promising center fielder at Rookie Ball. Since then, the Angels drafted talented outfielders Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, and Jordyn Adams, and Jones was converted to a second baseman. While his offensive production lacked in 2018 and the first half of 2019, Jones has found the stroke that garnered him the recognition he gained years ago.
Jones finished his first full season at Double-A Mobile hitting .313 in August and has carried that hot hitting into the Arizona Fall League. Through his first eight games in the AFL, Jones is hitting .292 with two doubles, three runs batted in, and two stolen bases. The second baseman’s stock is back on the rise and he’ll likely see a promotion to Triple-A Salt Lake next season as he continues to improve at the plate this Fall.
Angels Farm Review
Last week, I compiled my quarterly Future Halos Top 10 list and posted it on the @_HaloLife Twitter feed. Check it out and share your thoughts.
My Future Angels Top 10 (Q4 – 10/1/2019)
1. Jo Adell
2. Brandon Marsh
3. Jordyn Adams
4. Jeremiah Jackson
5. Will Wilson
6. Jose Soriano
7. Jahmai Jones
8. D’Shawn Knowles
9. Hector Yan
10. Jose Rojas pic.twitter.com/NdNsRITwus
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) October 1, 2019
Such a powerful recap of the Angels’ season. Thanks for sharing, B.J.