Shuhei Ohtani holds the grand slam belts, the Angels play triple… in another soul-crushing loss

Estimated read time 3 min read

The Los Angeles Angels recruit the most amazing player in professional baseball. Every night, Shuhei Ohtani dazzles the league. Whether he’s hitting his 43rd major league home run or hitting a double-digit hit while spinning another gem on the mound, Ohtani never fails to entertain.

However, the most amazing thing about the Angels isn’t Ohtani, it’s the team’s ability to find new and exhausting ways to lose baseball games.

The Angels’ final submission to the team’s growing embarrassing list of losses came Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. Otani hit a second-inning grand slam to tie Matt Olson for the major league home run lead and the Angels converted into a triple in the ninth inning. Somehow, Los Angeles still lost 9-6 in extra innings.

The contest should have ended early. After Ohtani’s win, the Angels took a 5-1 lead going into the third period. The Rays forced their way back into the game, scoring three runs in the fourth inning and then tying things up with a run in the fifth inning. Both teams added runs in the seventh, making it 6-6.

With the tie still going into the ninth, the Angels turned to closer Carlos Estevez to knock the Rays off the plate. Things looked bleak right away. Estevez gave a leadoff single to Yandy Díaz to open the frame, then allowed another single to Randy Arozarena. Diaz advanced to third on the play, putting the go-ahead just 90 feet away. The Rays had to score an out in the inning.

With Angels on the ropes, the team somehow pulled off a miracle. Harold Ramirez hit a grounder to shortstop, setting up a double play. Angels shortstop Luis Rengifo fielded the ball cleanly, checking Diaz on third down before firing the ball to second for his first down. Brandon Drury touched second base and pinned the ball to first base Nolan Shanwell to complete the double play. At some point during those throws, Diaz decided to take a home break. Chanuel noticed and quickly threw the ball to catcher Logan Ohope, who tagged Diaz before he touched the plate. Just like that, the Angels are out of the turn and the game is still tied.

Despite going ahead in the bottom of the ninth, the Angels failed to score. The game went into extra innings, and the Angels’ luck finally ran out. The Rays painted three runs in the top of the tenth. The Angels could not muster a comeback in the bottom of the frame, and lost the match 9-6.

Shuhei Ohtani continues to watch the Angels drop in the standings.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Shuhei Ohtani continues to watch the Angels drop in the standings. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Angels continue to struggle in August

The Friday game marked another disappointing loss since the Angels went all-in at the trade deadline. Rather than trade Ohtani, the Angels decided to make the push for the playoffs at the deadline. CJ Cron, Lucas Giolito, Randal Grichuk, and Reynaldo Lopez were brought in to help the team along the stretch.

The strategy didn’t work. Since August 1, the Angels are 4-11. Team playoff odds sitting at just 0.6% After losing on Friday, according to FanGraphs.

Barring a superhero turnaround, the Angels would once again miss another season with Ohtani and Mike Trout. Otani is expected to leave the club in the off-season, and it’s hard to blame him. It must be frustrating to break records every night only to watch your team miss another opportunity to move up the pecking order.

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