By and large, the play of the Los Angeles Angels has been bad. In Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, even a good moment like a home run from Shohei Ohtani was marred by manager Phil Nevin getting ejected immediately afterwards. But the Halos did manage one defensive highlight that you’re not going to see very often. And it started with a disaster.
Atlanta’s Austin Riley hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right field. Angels right fielder Jo Adell ran in and got underneath the ball but misplayed it horribly. Not only did he not catch the ball but it never even touched his glove. Fortunately for Adell — whose defense was already maligned — second baseman Michael Stefanic saved an error. Stefanic was Johnny-on-the-spot, channeling his inner Pete Rose from the 1980 world series and catching the ball off the deflection.
Michael Stefanic saves Jo Adell from an error. pic.twitter.com/lGQeirIuZE
— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) July 24, 2022
Every now and again, you’ll see a ground ball that bounces off a pitcher or infielder to one of his teammates who executes the out. Flyouts, though don’t usually have assists.
What’s even crazier is that Stefanic almost made this play even better. Not only did he catch the ball but Stefanic nearly doubled Matt Olson off at second base.
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) July 24, 2022
Olson did get back safely but Los Angeles escaped the bottom of the seventh without further damage — something that would have been difficult had this ball found the ground.
There’s not much positive to be said about this season for the Angels. But plays like this will give some positive memories.