The theme of the 2021 Los Angeles Angels season has been Shohei Ohtani putting the team on his back when the rest of the roster struggles to play with consistency. Well, the Angels flipped the script on Wednesday in one of the craziest games of the season. Jared Walsh and the bullpen wound up being the heroes of the night after Ohtani’s worst career outing.
After hitting three home runs in the previous two nights at Yankee Stadium, there was plenty of hype surrounding his start on the mound. Sadly, it didn’t go as planned, as he gave up seven earned runs and did not even get out of the first inning. The Angels trailed 7-2 after one, and 8-4 after eight innings.
The ninth is where things got crazy. After two rain delays and the worst start of Ohtani’s career, the Angels trailed by four against one of the best closers in baseball, Aroldis Chapman. Chapman walked three batters to load the bases with one out. From there, Walsh belted a game-tying grand slam, the first ever grand slam allowed by Chapman.
The Angels would go on to win 11-8, and Walsh had very few words to describe the events of a seven-run ninth inning, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“Euphoria, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Walsh said. “It was great. He’s one of the best closers I’ve seen over the last decade. I’ve got a ton of respect for him. It’s a pretty special moment to do that against someone I respect as much as I do.”
While the Angels would certainly prefer to win games in much less stressful fashion, a win like this can do a lot for a team’s confidence. Having the ability to come back from a five-run deficit through two rain delays to win the game off of one of the best closers in recent history is a remarkable thing.
Walsh, who hit the Angels only walk-off of the season way back in April, played the hero once again. It was a great change of pace to see L.A. pick up a reeling Ohtani rather than the other way around.
Jose Suarez received praise
Angels pitcher Jose Suarez took over unexpectedly in the second inning of Monday’s win over the Yankees when Dylan Bundy came down with heat exhaustion. In turn, he delivered an efficient and effective 5.1 inning performance in what turned out to be a Halos victory.
Maddon praised Suarez after the game, further emphasizing his case to be a part of the full-time starting rotation.