On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Angels — well out of playoff contention — faced the Wild Card contender San Diego Padres. Jo Adell was an anchor in a lineup without Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh, Mike Trout, or Anthony Rendon. They had Packy Naughton making his second career MLB start on the mound.
None of that is a recipe for a victory, and it appeared that way for six innings. Padres starter Blake Snell pitched six perfect frames before allowing a leadoff walk to David Fletcher to begin the seventh. Fletcher reached second on a sacrifice bunt, then stole third. With two outs, Snell gave up another walk, this time to Jack Mayfield, who subsequently stole second.
With two outs, runners at second and third, and Snell still tossing a no-hitter through 6.2 innings, Adell came to bat. On a 1-2 count, Adell ripped a ground ball through the infield hole, allowing both runners to score. It gave the Angels a 2-0 lead, as Naughton and Jimmy Herget had combined for six shutout innings by this point.
The Angels went on to score two more runs, and the bullpen shut down the Padres. It was a 4-0 victory for L.A. in the most improbable of circumstances. That is part of what led to Joe Maddon describing the win the way he did, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“That’s what it’s supposed to look like,” Maddon said. “You pitch really well, catch the ball and come up with the big hit and that’s what we did tonight.
“That was one of the best-played games we’ve had all year. May have been the best.”
Adell spoke specifically about the team’s approach against Snell, and how they were able to break through in the seventh inning.
“The more the game went, the more we started to pick up on some things and be successful,” Adell said. “At that point, that’s all you can do, especially with a guy coming out with stuff like that. Just foul some tough pitches away and get a pitch you can handle. Standing from the side and seeing him continually throw, especially the way his stuff was tonight, that helped me be successful.”
The Halos came into this series wanting to play spoiler on the Padres’ playoff hopes. They’ve done exactly that, as the loss put San Diego in a deadlock with the Cincinnati Reds for the second Wild Card spot.
Meanwhile, L.A. could not have asked for a better game to give the team momentum as look towards the future. Without any of their stars in the lineup, they broke through a perfect game to score four runs and win on the backs of their pitching.
Jaime Barria sees current starts as auditions
It’s no secret that the Angels are going to spend the final month of the season evaluating what they have for next year. With constant uncertainty surrounding Angels pitching, Jaime Barria is seizing this chance to prove he can be a part of the 2022 club.
He viewed his start on Monday against the Texas Rangers as an open audition, with some slots left to fill in the starting rotation.