For the second straight game in this vaunted showdown between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, it was an older Angels veteran stealing the show. This time it Albert Pujols doing so in spectacular fashion as he took all the wait and anticipation out of his chase for 500 career homers. He just so happened to propel the Angels themselves back to the .500 mark at the same time.
Run Expectancy Rundown
Nobody really had a terrible game, but this was still just ALL Albert Pujols. I know a lot people are saying good things about him right now, but he really does look as good as he has ever has as an Angel and even seems to be channeling a little bit of his prime self.
It probably isn’t a good thing when your only two positive offensive contributors are your third string catcher and your starting pitcher. Even Taylor Jordan only really added value because of a bunt single that was the result of a combined David Freese-Tyler Skaggs brainfart. Ian Desmond gets an honorable mention as the Halo Hero for tanking in a few high leverage moments.
Starting Pitcher Scores
I feel like a broken record with Skaggs, but I continue to be impressed at his composure. He was mostly excellent in this game, but he could easily have melted down in that weird third inning. Instead, he fought his way out of it and then rattled off three straight 1-2-3 innings.
The bullpens were totally inconsequential in this one, but anytime the Angel bullpen can post a perfect night, it has to be called out. Even more so when they pull off that feat despite the prominent involvement of Kevin Jepsen.
The Angels jumped out to a big Win Expectancy from the start but saw it nearly return to coin flip levels after Skaggs plunked Espinosa. That was short-lived thanks to the Werth GIDP. Then Pujols slammed the door shut with his second, historic homer.
In every sense of the term, this was Albert’s night.