3 Things We Learned From The Angels’ 3-2 Loss To Oakland

Updated: May 8, 2017

The Angels came into tonight’s contest losers of four of their last six. Well, things did not get any better today. The Oakland A’s ultimately won this one 3-2 in walk off fashion. A Jed Lowrie drive to right field in the 11th proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Halos. This marked Oakland’s third consecutive walk off victory and was Lowrie’s second long ball of the ballgame.

Right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco toed the rubber for the Angels this evening. He opposed fellow Opening Day foe Kendall Graveman. Coming into this one, Nolasco had a record of 2-2 supplemented by a 4.68 ERA. Nolasco had a fine outing, making it through seven innings and allowing just two earned runs. He picked up ten strikeouts on the night as well, which is a season high.

With the first game of the series in the books, here are three key takeaways worth bearing in mind.

1. Luis Valbuena Is Going To Supply Some Backup

When they are all healthy, the Angels’ 2-3-4 punch of Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols is one of the best there is. Although that cannot be denied, the Halos learned over time that the trio cannot always do all the heavy lifting offensively. This is precisely why GM Billy Eppler decided to sign left-handed bat Luis Valbuena to a two-year pact in the offseason. In the very first inning tonight, Valbuena put his power on display. With one man on base, he drove a shot to dead center field that found its way over the wall. It gave the Angels an early 2-0 advantage.

Frankly, it is difficult to judge Valbuena comprehensively right now. Tonight marked just his sixth appearance for the Halos, so it is not a large sample size by any means. However, seeing him hit one out of the yard signals what he can bring to the ball club. Albert in particular is getting no younger, so any backup is more than welcome. Backup is nothing to complain about.

2. The Halos Are A Hard Luck Kind Of Team

Asserting something along these lines may seem strange or silly. But when the Angels’ fortunes are looked at, that “hard luck” phrase makes sense. After Valbuena gave his team a quick 2-0 edge, Andrelton Simmons came up to the plate. On the fourth pitch of the sequence, the Halos’ defensive guru got hit by a pitch. The ball appeared to get him on his left hand. Granted Simba stayed in the game temporarily, Danny Espinosa came in as a defensive replacement in the second. Cliff Pennington subsequently shifted from second over to shortstop.

The injury may not be too big of a malady. Tonight’s broadcasters revealed that x-rays on his left hand were negative and that Simmons’ status is day-to-day. Still, any time a player has to leave the game early there’s always reason for concern. Practically every week something new seems to happen to one of the team’s players. It is partially why the team’s record is where it is. It is not a horrendously bad record, but it is not a great record at the same time. This group continues to be struck by bad luck. Simmons is one of the last guys the team can afford to lose, too, since he has evolved into a two-dimensional threat this season. It is getting tougher and tougher seeing this group continue to suffer.

3. Lineup Is Much Weaker Without Trout’s Presence

This one will make anyone with a half a brain say “well, duh.” Akin to yesterday’s contest, too, tonight was tangible proof that the lineup is really not that productive without Mike in it (or as exciting for that matter). Mike simply adds a whole extra tier to it. It is really as simple as that. He can hit the ball to all parts of the field with authority and when he gets on base he can create just as much fear due to his elite speed. He is also extremely patient at the plate, too, so he does not even need a hit all the time in order to get to first. Yes sirree, he is that good in case any reminders were needed.

Rumor has it that Trout anticipates being back in the lineup for tomorrow’s game. Let’s hope that the rumors that have been circulating come to fruition. This team is just not complete without the New Jersey native’s presence. This team is not the same without all the tools number 27 brings night in and night out.

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