It has been morbidly amusing to be a neutral viewer of the Los Angeles Angels this season. Their luck has been laughably poor in a season where they really needed all the luck they can get to keep Shohei Ohtani in their uniform. Ohtani himself is the only mostly blameless party as he continues to pull off incredible feat after incredible feat in terrible, terrible losses. Tungstern Arm O’Doyle is a name that has haunted the Angels’ 2023 season.
But even by this year’s standards last night’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays was a bad loss. Ohtani spotted the Angels a four-run lead in the second inning with a grand slam. It was absolutely hammered.
Then the inevitable began to set in. The Rays chipped away until the Angels had fully blown this lead and entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6. Tampa Bay got men on the corners with no outs and it looked like the Angels would lose in typically disappointing fashion. But then, a miracle! A blunder on the basepaths combined with some on-target throws gave Los Angeles life in the form of an inning-ending triple play. It was the team’s first triple play in nearly 30 years, and above all it was remarkably clutch.
Surely after two separate bases-clearing plays the Angels would win, right? Absolutely not. Los Angeles left two runners stranded on first and second (thanks in part to an Ohtani strikeout) in the bottom of the ninth. The Rays immediately put three runs on the board in the top of the 10th and it was curtains for the Angels.
What a cursed existence. They had so much go right for them and then they lost. Even their best player, with the opportunity to save them from another brutal defeat, failed. Losing begets losing begets losing.
The Angels are now 7.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot in the American League. Things do not look good. It seems that we will all have to wait another year to watch Ohtani play meaningful baseball. And that, friends, is a loss for us all. As tragically funny as the Angels have been.