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Diamondbacks Gameday Thread, #85: 7/2 @ Angels

Probably the last time we see Shohei Ohtani as an Angel.

MLB: JUN 17 Angels at Royals Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Ketel Marte - 2B Mickey Moniak - RF
Kyle Lewis - DH Mike Trout - CF
Lourdes Gurriel - LF Shohei Ohtani - DH
Christian Walker - 1B Anthony Rendon - 3B
Evan Longoria - 3B Mike Moustakas - 1B
Carson Kelly - C Taylor Ward - LF
Dominic Fletcher - RF Matt Thaiss - C
Nick Ahmed - SS Eduardo Escobar - 2B
Alek Thomas - CF David Fletcher - SS
Zac Gallen - RHP Reid Detmers - LHP

Since Shohei Ohtani arrived in the majors for the 2018 season, only four players have been worth a total of thirty bWAR or better. So if you had one of them on your favorite team, you should count yourself blessed. Baseball isn't like some other sports, where one great player can carry a team into the playoffs. But it certainly should help. Mookie Betts, with 35.6 bWAR since 2018, has missed just one postseason in that time, and Aaron Judge (31.6) has 1made it every single year. The other two players though? Not so much. Because they play for the Angels. Mike Trout (30.6) and Ohtani (17.4 hitting + 13.9 pitching = 31.3) have never appeared in the same playoff game.

With this being the latter’s final season before free-agency, the odds are that the Angels will have wasted not one but two of the best players of the current era. Trout has three MVP awards... and ONE playoff hit, that coming all the way back in 2014, the Angels last postseason appearance. Maybe it’s the curse of Anaheim. Since dropping the city from their name after the 2015 season, the Angeles have had a losing record every single year. With both Ohtani and Trout, they haven’t finished higher than third in the AL West. That’s where they sit again now, and although they are above .500 for once, they sit fifth in the wild-card race, and face a tough July schedule.

The individual success of the pair, combined with the miserable failure of the Angels, has become a meme: “Tungsten Arm O’Doyle”, stemming from this 2021 Tweet:

We saw this in action for the opening game of the series, where the media fawned over the size of Ohtani’s dong... and the Angels lost to the D-backs 6-2. I can certainly appreciate what he’s doing - it single-handedly demolishes the “pItChErS cAn’T hIt!” argument for the DH. But the borderline hysteria over individual performances in a team sport, feels weirdly disrespectful to a Diamondbacks side who have gone about their business at a higher level than the Angels, with a minimum of fuss and much less attention. I’m all in favor of Zac Gallen doing what Zac Gallen does this afternoon, completing the sweep, and pushing the Angels further towards another season of October golf.