Only about 35% of Angel Stadium was filled on a 100 degree Wednesday afternoon to watch the Los Angeles Angels face the Detroit Tigers. However, the approximately 15,000 in attendance got to see Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit home runs, only to have Jose Quijada blow a save opportunity.
For Trout, it was his fourth consecutive game with a home run, tying the longest streak of his career. But for the Angels superstar pairing of Trout and Ohtani, it was their second time in four games with both hitting homers. In total, it was their eighth time this season and 22nd time overall going yard in the same game.
Those two — plus a two-run Matt Thaiss home run — gave the Angels a 4-3 lead going into the ninth inning. Quijada then gave up back-to-back home runs to the Tigers’ No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, Kerry Carpenter and Ryan Kreidler. The Tigers held on to the 5-4 lead to win and avoid the sweep.
Still, the back-and-forth between Trout and Ohtani made for an entertaining ballgame. Trout was able to tie Ohtani for the Angels’ home run lead at 32 for all of three innings before Ohtani hit his 33rd. Trout took some pleasure in the unintentional battle between the two, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Trout said. “A lot of people the last couple days say we’re pushing each other for the home run lead. That’s cool. I’m not going up to hit a homer and he isn’t either. Just having good at-bats and putting good swings on balls.”
The blown save by Quijada pointed to an issue that has been discussed by Angels interim manager Phil Nevin in the past. Nevin believes that Quijada’s quality of outings is heavily influenced by the electricity of the crowd and the moment.
“Certainly he’s an emotional guy,” Nevin said. “He feeds off of (the crowd). You’ve got to find a way to bottle that up. It doesn’t matter if there’s nobody here or a full crowd. You come in a one-run game, we need everything he can get.”
Quijada has been lights out at various point this season, but also has some less than desirable outings on his ledger. On a day where Trout and Ohtani both homer and the Angels have the lead in the final inning, Quijada’s sense of the moment needed to be a bit stronger.
Instead, the Angels fail to secure a sweep that was right in front of them, and now have a bad taste in their mouth as they head on the road for series against the Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians.
Trout’s timing returning with power
After Trout’s second consecutive game hitting a home run, he spoke about how his timing was still not at 100%. But while he worked to get that back, his power was exactly where he wanted it to be. Now, after two more home runs, he’s batting .309 with eight homers since returning from the IL.