2019 Los Angeles Angels
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2019 Los Angeles Angels / Franchise: Los Angeles Angels / BR Team Page
Managed by Brad Ausmus
The 2019 Los Angeles Angels came into the season with only mild expectations under new manager Brad Ausmus, replacing Mike Scioscia who had been at the helm during 19 seasons. In spite of having in their ranks the consensus best player in the majors in CF Mike Trout, as well as the reigning Rookie of the Year in Shohei Ohtani, the Angels were not expected to contend. Ohtani was coming off Tommy John surgery which meant he would be unable to pitch that season and would also miss the first weeks of the year, and as good as Trout was, he could neither carry the team by himself, nor compensate for glaring weaknesses on the pitching side. One major surprise during the first half was 2B Tommy La Stella, who had never been a starter at any point during his first five seasons in the majors and who had been acquired in a minor trade with the Chicago Cubs in the off-season. La Stella had topped his career best for homers within a few weeks, and had even doubled his career total in the category by the end of May. He was rightfully voted as a starter in the 2019 All-Star Game on the back of hitting .300 with 16 homers and 44 RBIs during the first half, but before he could take part in the game, he fouled a ball off his leg and broke a bone, forcing him to miss the game and a considerable stretch of time.
La Stella's injury came on July 2nd, in the Angels' first game following a terrible tragedy, the sudden death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs on July 1st in his hotel room in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Angels' game against the Texas Rangers was cancelled that day as the team was devastated, Skaggs having been one of the most popular members of the team. Both Trout and La Stella wore his uniform number 45 at the All-Star Game played at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH on July 9th, La Stella taking the field on crutches for the introduction of players. Then, in a scenario worthy of a Hollywood film, the Angels played their first home game since Skaggs' death on July 12th. They payed him a moving tribute, with all players wearing #45 in his honor and his mother throwing the ceremonial first pitch. They then put on one of the greatest performances in team history in destroying the Seattle Mariners, 13-0: the players batted around in the bottom of the 1st inning, scoring 7 runs, with Trout contributing a homer and double and driving in 4 runs, and pitchers Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined on a no-hitter, with Pena being magnificent over the last 7 innings, allowing just a walk and retiring the last 14 batters in order. It was the most fitting tribute a team could have payed a fallen teammate. Manager Ausmus stated after the game: "That was one of the most special moments I have been a part of on a Major League field, 25 years. Just the way the game went, and culminating with a no-hitter. You feel like it's partly Skaggy's no-hitter."
Awards and Honors
- Rhett Bollinger: "Wearing Skaggs' 45, Angels combine for no-no: Trout delivers on offense with 6-RBI night; Thaiss makes key defensive play", mlb.com, July 13, 2019. 
- Jori Epstein: "Angels get emotional win in return to field following death of teammate Tyler Skaggs", USA Today, July 3, 2019. 
- Gabe Lacques: "Angels' odd mix of Mike Trout & Co. inspires hope: 'Nothing but belief in ourselves'", USA Today, May 14, 2019. 
- Gabe Lacques: "A decade after Nick Adenhart, death of Angels' Tyler Skaggs a tragic reminder of grief's permanence", USA Today, July 1, 2019.