The Los Angeles Angels did not get the result they wanted out of the 2021 season. Injuries derailed any of the early momentum the team picked up, and mediocre pitching once again plagued the team’s otherwise elite offense.
However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t still great moments worth celebrating. Today, we’ll take a look at what we considered to be the five best individual games of the Angels season.
No. 5: Angels def. Boston Red Sox, May 16
Heading into this Sunday afternoon game at Fenway Park, the Angels desperately wanted to avoid a sweep to their AL opponent, the Boston Red Sox. They got off to a good start, scoring four runs in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead.
The Red Sox slowly came back, scoring one run in the third inning to make it 4-1, then putting together an onslaught in the fifth. Two home runs scored four total runs and the Red Sox had a 5-4 lead midway through the afternoon. The Angels did not get a hit again until the eighth inning, but they stranded runners at second and third.
It all came down to the ninth inning. Kurt Suzuki grounded out, Jose Rojas struck out, and the Angels were down to their final out. Off of closer Matt Barnes, Mike Trout hit a single up the middle to put a runner on for Shohei Ohtani.
On the first pitch to Ohtani, he roped a two-run home run past the pesky pole in right field and gave the Angels a 6-5 lead. Mike Mayers completed the save in the ninth for the Halos win.
No. 4: Angels def. Seattle Mariners, June 4
With the Angels leading 3-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Joe Maddon turned to Mike Mayers to set things up for Iglesias in the ninth. However, Mayers was all over the place. He allowed a double, a bunt single, and a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Holding a fickle one-run lead, Maddon quickly pulled Mayers and turned to Iglesias, needing the performance of a lifetime. Facing the heart of the Mariners order, Iglesias forced a 2-2 foul pop-up to Mitch Haniger, then struck out Kyle Seager in a 3-2 count. With two outs and the bases loaded, He struck out Ty France on three pitches.
He got out of the worst jam a pitcher can possibly be in, then proceeded to come back out for the ninth and strike two more batters out en route to a six-out save and an Angels win. In baseball, some wins are team efforts, but this one was all Iglesias.
No. 3: Angels def. New York Yankees, June 30
This game started out as one of the worst of the season before becoming one of the best. After scoring two runs in the top of the first, the Angels were confident, especially as Ohtani took the mound.
Instead, Ohtani had perhaps his worst performance as a Major League pitcher. He walked four batters, hit a fifth, and allowed two base hits before being removed from the game with only one out in the first. After Aaron Slegers gave up a bases clearing double, Ohtani had picked up seven earned runs in 0.1 innings of work.
Down 7-2 in the first inning, things looked bleak. A Juan Lagares RBI double and a Jared Walsh home run made it 7-4, before a rain delay shut down the game for over an hour. When they returned, the Yankees scored again to make it 8-4, putting the Angels in the impossible situation of facing Aroldis Chapman down four runs in the ninth inning.
Chapman was off, however, and he walked three of his first four batters, loading the bases for Walsh. Having already homered in the game, the Angels first baseman was confident. On the second pitch of the AB, he hit a grand slam to right-center field to tie the game at 8. Chapman was taken out, but it didn’t stop there.
The Angels put up three more runs in the inning, totaling seven runs in one frame, and ultimately winning the game 11-8 in New York.
No. 2: Angels def. Chicago White Sox, April 4
Walsh’s heroics were not just for a game against the Yankees, it’s how the season began. Not only that, this game saw Shohei Ohtani make his first pitching start of the year as well as hit a towering first inning home run.
The Angels led for most of this game, but Iglesias gave up a game-tying run in the ninth inning, accounting for one of his very few blown saves on the season. This meant they were going to need something in the bottom of the ninth to avoid extras.
Dexter Fowler hit a single and Anthony Rendon walked to put two men on for Walsh with one out. They only needed one run, but Walsh gave them three with a walk off home run to left-center field. The Angels won 7-4 to close out the first series of the season.
No. 1: Angels def. Detroit Tigers, August 19
Normally, giving up 10 runs to the Tigers would not be considered a good win. However, this historic Angels victory makes it No. 1 on this list. After defeating the Tigers in the first two games of the series, the Angels had a chance to close out the sweep.
Angels starter Jose Quintana gave up two runs in the first to make it 2-0, but the Angels responded quickly in the second and tied it up at 2. Things quickly got out of hand for L.A. in the bottom of the second.
Quintana gave up a home run, put traffic on the bases, and then was removed from the game. Aaron Slegers did not succeed at limiting damage with inherited runners, giving up back-to-back run-scoring hits. By the end of the second, it was 7-2 Detroit.
After five, the Angels trailed 10-2. But the sixth inning would change the complexion of the game. The Angels batted around the order, scoring six runs on five hits and two walks to make it 10-8 and give the team new life.
In the seventh, Walsh brought in a run, putting the score at 10-9 Tigers. In the eighth, a two-run homer by Max Stassi and an Ohtani RBI made it 12-10 Angels, setting them up for the biggest comeback in team history.
One more insurance run in the ninth made it 13-10, and that wound up being the Angels margin of victory. They scored 11 unanswered and broke a franchise record in the process.