The Angels did their part. They hoped the Texas Rangers would do theirs.
No such luck.
The Angels’ season came to a screeching halt on a cool night in a half empty ballpark in Seattle. Their final two games will have no meaning, at least in terms of deciding their playoff future this season. They have none.
While rookie Mike Trout had another dazzling night at the plate and pitcher CJ Wilson had his most productive start in almost a month, the Angels were officially eliminated from a shot at the playoffs — not because of what they did but because of what the Texas Rangers didn’t do.
The Rangers didn’t beat the Oakland A’s, thereby removing the Angels’ last remaining hope — and marking the third consecutive season they will miss the postseason.
The Angels can’t blame the Rangers; they can only blame themselves — their stumbling April start, their missed opportunities, their blown leads. But those are subjects for another day.
They went down swinging. Their 27-11 record since Aug. 21 is tied for the best record in the majors. They were 18-9 in September, the second-best record in the American League. Trout is making his case for MVP, and Jered Weaver is a contender for the Cy Young Award.
But what they needed most was to sweep the Seattle Mariners and have the A’s lose three to the Rangers. But before they could finish off an 8-4 win at Safeco Field, they saw the writing on the scoreboard wall: A’s 4, Rangers 3.
“It’s not a good feeling,” Trout told FOX Sports West. “We were scoreboard watching the whole game. Oakland got an early lead, and we came out fighting. We did our job.”
At some point, Trout will be able to appreciate his contribution. He was 4 for 5 in the game, including two singles, a double and a triple, scored two runs and drove in three. His season is not quite done, but among his achievements this season are these:
• He established an Angels rookie record with five four-hit games, most in the majors since Ichiro Suzuki had six in 2001.
• He has scored 129 runs, an Angels record and the third most for a rookie in big league history. Only Joe DiMaggio (132 in 1936) and Ted Williams (131 in 1939) had more. That’s heady company.
“Individually, it means a lot to me,” Trout said of his remarkable rookie season. “But from a team standpoint, we had one goal coming into spring training, and that’s getting into the playoffs. We didn’t achieve that goal.”
They’ll have all winter to think about that. Their 8-15 April start still rings heavily in their ears. It dropped them nine games out in the AL West, and they spent the rest of the summer trying to slice away the margin.
Wilson was part of the reason they struggled. The left-hander, who signed a rich free-agent contract last winter, endured an 11-start winless stretch from July 1 to Aug. 23, going 0-5 in that span. Monday night, he won his 13th game, pitched into the seventh inning and yielded just two earned runs.
The Angels beat Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, the former Cy Young winner who threw a perfect game this season but couldn’t beat LA. He had five starts against the Angels and was 0-3.
Now the Angels will play their final two games against the Mariners and head for the offseason. It won’t be fun.
“It’s a little quiet in our clubhouse,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t reach our goal this season. There’s a lot of good things that happened. We fell short, but we’re going take the positives and move forward and hopefully finish strong.”