Geovany Soto's 9th-Inning Home Run Saved the Day for the Angels
Despite having the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, on their roster, the Los Angeles Angels aren't a stellar ball club in 2016.
Sure, they're 4-4, but we project them to finish 82-80 with a 34.3% chance to reach the postseason -- far from a lock.
Overall, we see them as the 24th-best team in Major League Baseball, roughly 1.2 runs per game below a league-average squad.
Every win for them matters, and they stole one last night against American League West rivals, the Oakland Athletics.
What Went Down
The Angels trailed 4-3 entering the top of the ninth on the road with the 6-7-8 hitters due up -- that's Andrelton Simmons (whose career wRC+ of 84 is well below league average), Ji-Man Choi (who's got eight career plate appearances at the MLB level), and Geovany Soto (a future hero) in case you didn't happen to know the bottom of the Angels' order last night off hand.
A first-pitch fly out from Simmons increased Oakland's odds to 91.8%.
Then, C.J. Cron pinch hit for Choi, waited out a 3-1 count, and eventually walked on six pitches. Oakland's odds dropped to 83.8%.
Craig Gentry was subbed in to pinch-run for Cron, but it turns out that the swap wasn't necessary.
On an 0-1 count, Soto did this.
— Angels (@Angels) April 13, 2016
Soto's bomb swung the game into the Angels' favor -- naturally -- and their win probability spiked to 83.4%.
With a 20% chance to win the American League West, per our algorithm, the Angels boast the second-best odds to take the division crown (the Seattle Mariners own a 24.4% chance).
It's got the making of a tight race by season's end, and this two-run shot by Soto could wind up being a difference-maker come September.