Angels Put Up Historic Game To Honor Teammate Who Just Died: 'You Can't Make This Stuff Up'


When Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs tragically died last week, his teammates had to cope with his shocking passing while they were on the road in Texas.

Then came the All-Star break earlier this week, meaning the team wouldn’t be able to honor Skaggs in front of their home fans until they returned to Anaheim for Friday’s game against the Mariners.

While the Angels held had an emotional pregame ceremony to honor their fallen teammate, what they did during the game was even more of a tribute, as they posted a historic win the day before what would have been Skaggs’ 28th birthday.

So why was it historic?

Well, en route to a 13-0 victory, two Angels pitchers combined for a no-hitter, just the 11th in franchise history.

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Considering that there have been over 9,000 games in Angels history, the odds of a no-hitter occurring on any given day (prior to Friday’s game) were less than 900 to one.

The Angels honored Skaggs before the game by etching his No. 45 into the mound. Each Angels player also wore a No. 45 jersey, Skaggs’ image was ingrained on the outfield wall and the team kept his locker in its normal spot, according to ESPN.

Skaggs’ mother threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and his teammates paid tribute from there.

The Angels scored seven runs in the first inning and 13 total. Coincidentally, Skaggs’ birthday just happens to be on 7/13.

“You can’t,” Angels superstar Mike Trout said after the game, before pausing for a moment. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

“I’m speechless,” he added. “This is the best way to honor him.”

Starting pitcher Taylor Cole went two hitless innings, and then Felix Pena pitched seven hitless innings to give the Angels their first no-hitter since 2012.

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This being the franchise’s 11th no-hitter also carries a bit of symbolism, as Skaggs wore No. 11 in high school, according to CBS Sports.

Dan Roche of WBZ-TV in Boston pointed out that even with five MLB teams in California, this was the first combined no-hitter thrown in the state since the Athletics accomplished the feat on 7/13/91 … the day Skaggs was born.

“I feel like we have an angel looking down on us.” Pena said.

He also uttered a phrase that Skaggs had popularized after a big win.

“We’re nasty,” Pena said.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, just hours before the Angels were set to begin a road series against the Texas Rangers. MLB ended up postponing that night’s game.

The Southlake Police Department, meanwhile, doesn’t think foul play, including suicide, was involved in Skaggs’ death. The autopsy report likely won’t be finished until October.

“At this point, I don’t really care,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said before Friday’s game, referring to Skaggs’ cause of death.

“His loss is his loss, and there’s an emptiness regardless of the cause. I’m not in any rush to find out. All I know is Tyler Skaggs is no longer here. He had a lot of friends and family that cared about him a lot. The reason he died isn’t what hurts; the fact that he died is what hurts.”

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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