With MLB and all of the sports being held on pause due to the coronavirus, I decided to reflect on the Angels’ better parts of the previous decade.
Don’t get me wrong, the 2010s was a rough decade for Angels fans.
Between the Royals three-game sweep in the 2014 ALDS, to the gut-wrenching loss of Tyler Skaggs, the ten seasons from 2010-2019 were full of disappointment and heartbreak. However, it’s important to remember the bright spots of the decade.
As the 2010s provided plenty of historical and memorable moments for years to come.
Before I share my list for the best moments of the decade, I would like to provide some ground rules.
- I’m not including MVP’s, Cy Young Awards, Gold Glove Awards, Sliver Slugger Awards, All-Star/All-Star Game MVP’s, or any other personal awards on this list.
- All of these moments happened during Angel games.
- Lastly, 2 of these “moments” on this list have been combined, in order to make room for other highlights and achievements.
Now, with that being out of the way, let’s begin.
10) Ervin Santana’s No-Hitter Against the Indians
Ervin Santana pitched a no-hitter on July 27, 2011, against the Cleveland Indians. His final line in the game was 9 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 BB, and 10 SO.
What makes Santana’s no-hitter particularly unique is that he gave up a run, which was also the first batter of the game. Santana was a solid pitcher for the Angels from 2005-2012, making one All-Star appearance for them in 2008. Of course, it’s fair to say that this was his most dominant start with the Angels, and in his entire career.
9) 2018 Opening Week: Shohei Ohtani
With the Angels acquiring Shohei Ohtani in the offseason, reporters and scouts alike were skeptical of his ability to compete in MLB. However, his strong start to 2018 proved all of his doubters wrong. In his first home at-bat against the Cleveland Indians, he hit a three-run HR off of Josh Tomlin, hit a game-tying two-run HR off of Corey Kluber the next game, and pitched a gem against the Oakland A’s in the following series. The excitement and historical impact of Ohtani’s talent was on full display and gave Angels fans an eye-opening glimpse of what he was capable of.
8) The Angels’ Surreal Walk-Off Against the Mariners
In the young 2017 season, the Angels entered the bottom of the ninth down 9-3 against the Seattle Mariners. Yet, they left the ballpark as victors in walk-off style, with a final score of 10-9.
The improbable seven-run ninth inning comeback is one you should see for yourself and serves as a reminder for all sports fans to never leave a ball game early (especially as an Angels fan).
7) Jered Weaver’s No-Hitter Against the Twins
Jered Weaver has established himself as a fan favorite, and a fierce competitor for the Angels. Finally, on May 2, 2012, Weaver forever enshrined himself into Angels’ history by no-hitting the Minnesota Twins. His nearly spotless totals for the game were 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 9 SO. Weaver was a dominant and reliable pitcher for the Angels from 2006-2016 and represented the Angels in three straight All-Star games from 2010-2012. Hopefully, there becomes a day where the Angels and Weaver can celebrate his career together, and have him officially retire as an Angel.
6) Shohei Ohtani Hits for the Cycle Against the Rays
Shohei Ohtani was looking to follow up his unprecedented first full season solely with his bat, and he delivered. But his performance on June 13, 2019, was certainly his most impressive. Hitting for the ninth cycle in Angels history (The first since Mike Trout’s cycle in 2013), Ohtani was 4-4 with a single, double, triple, HR, and 3 RBI to help the Angels win a close game against the Tampa-Bay Rays by a final score of 5-3.
Following the cycle, Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to complete the cycle, adding another achievement to the legend of Shohei Ohtani.
5) Mike Trout Hits For the Cycle Against the Mariners
Although Mike Trout also completed the cycle in his first at-bats in his first four All-Star games, this remains Trout’s singular regular season cycle.
After having a spectacular rookie season in 2012, he hit for the cycle (The seventh in Angels history) in his second full-season on May 21, 2013, becoming the youngest AL player ever to do so. His cycle was comprised of going 4-5 with of course a single, double, triple, and HR along with 5 RBI. This was Trout’s first career cycle, but it probably won’t be his last…
4) Game 161
Another Angels’ comeback, but what makes this one so special? Simply put, this game was for all the marbles. On October 3, 2015, all the Texas Rangers had to do was win the game to punch their ticket to the postseason. Yet, their celebration would not arrive that day. Going into the top of the ninth inning, the Angels were down 10-6 with their season on the line.
The Angels, in Angels fashion, pulled off a five-run ninth-inning rally to put them up 11-10. They were able to hold on to the lead in the bottom of the ninth and kept their playoff hopes alive until the last game of the season. But don’t worry about what happened in the next game, it’s not relevant.
3) Albert Pujols’ Numerous Milestones
Despite Albert Pujols not being the best free-agent, the Angels have signed, it would be a disservice to not mention the exclusive milestones he has achieved while wearing an Angel uniform. On April 22, 2014, vs. the Washington Nationals, Pujols blasted his 500th career home run, becoming only the 26th player in baseball to do so.
On June 3, 2017, against the Minnesota Twins, Pujols launched his 600th career home run in the form of a grand slam and joined only nine other players in the 600 HR club (Side-note: his home run was off of former Angel, Ervin Santana).On May 4, 2018, vs. the Seattle Mariners, Pujols recorded his 3,000th hit to match only 31 other players. Lastly, on May 9, 2019, vs. the Detroit Tigers, Pujols’ got his 2,000th RBI to join Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez as the only three players to accomplish the feat. Pujols’ greatness has been provided through these milestones, and he still has two more years to complete a few more.
2) 2014 Angels Clinch AL West and Best Record in Baseball
As I have mentioned before, don’t worry about what happened after the Angels clinched the division, it’s not relevant. In the 2014 regular season, the Angels were unstoppable. They cruised to 98 wins (The best in MLB), and easily reserved their spot in October on September 16, 2014.
This may have been the Angels only postseason appearance of the decade, but it was undeniably sweet.
1) Combined No-Hitter for Tyler Skaggs
After the unfathomable loss of Tyler Skaggs, the Angels celebrated his life in their first game back from the All-Star break on July 12, 2019, vs. the Seattle Mariners. Tyler’s mom, Debbie Skaggs, threw a first-pitch strike right down the middle.
The Angels followed up that performance exceptionally with a combined no-hitter. Not only did the Angels no-hit the Mariners, but they also demolished them 13-0. Taylor Cole opened the game with 2 hitless innings, and Félix Peña finished the game with seven more. The game itself is a masterpiece and will go down as one of the most powerful and memorable games in Angels and MLB history.
I encourage everyone, at the very least, watch a recap of this game. I know for a fact that this game will forever have a special place in my heart, and provide a beautiful illustration of how magical the game of baseball can be.
- Tyler Skaggs No-Hitter
- 2014 AL West Champs (Best Record)
- Pujols’ Milestones
- Game 161
- Trout cycle
- Ohtani cycle
- Weaver No-Hitter
- Comeback Against the Mariners
- 2018 Opening Week Ohtani
- Ervin Santana No-Hitter
With seemingly the whole sports world grinding to a halt, I want to give an important reminder to please stay safe and wash your hands.
That being said, I hope that you enjoyed this article (I had a pleasant time reminiscing these happy occasions), and are able to enjoy the rest of your weekend.
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