The Los Angeles Angels looked like they were finally going to end their 10-game losing streak. They entered the bottom of the eighth inning leading 6-2 with their two best relievers yet to pitch.
Aaron Loup started the inning on the mound, but after Odubel Herrera singled, Bryson Stott reached on a fielder’s choice, and Kyle Schwarber walked, Angels manager Joe Maddon went to his closer, Raisel Iglesias, to attempt to get them out of the one-out, bases loaded jam.
Iglesias struck out Rhys Hoskins, but then Bryce Harper came to the plate. Iglesias took Harper to a full count but left a pitch over the plate and Harper blasted it out of the park to tie the game.
The Angels ended up taking the lead back in the ninth to go up 7-6 and Maddon stuck with Iglesias on the mound. The right-hander gave up two singles before he was replaced by Jimmy Herget, who took Stott to a full count before giving up a three-run walk off home run.
The Angels were in such a good position to end their losing streak, which makes the loss even more challenging to deal with, Maddon said after the game via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“That one’s tough,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ve lost a lot of tough ones. It really makes no sense. We got the right guys out there at the right time. Again, we gave it up late. We have to get that fixed. Love the fight all day. But we’ve got to finish these games off.”
The Angels have tried remaining positive and they are still working hard during their losing streak, but with each loss that is added on, the frustration continues to build. They have already had two team meetings, but there’s only so much those can do:
“We’re past meetings at this point,” Duffy said. “We’re all professionals in here. We all know what we’re supposed to do to win ballgames. This is really tough. I think it gets us to a certain point where you have a meeting, but if you have a meeting and it doesn’t turn things around, it’s like you can only have so many meetings.
“I think we’re all adults. It’s not like we get talked to. It’s just like, hey, guys, let’s focus on what we can control and don’t try to do too much. It’s just a tough stretch. I don’t really have any answers.”
The only thing they can do is try to close the book on each game and focus on their next game without looking in the past. Thankfully, the Angels still have more than enough time to get back on track and make the playoffs:
“We’ve got a good club,” Duffy said. “What are you gonna do? You show up tomorrow and prepare yourself to win the ballgame that day. The nature of this game is that you don’t typically win this many in a row or lose this many in a row. That’s the tough part.
“What you have to keep in perspective is that we do play every single day. Tomorrow we have another opportunity. It sounds cliche, but that’s the only thing you really can do. And try to see where you went wrong. Learn from the day before and the week before. That’s it, try to keep it as simple as possible.”
The Angels now have a losing record for the first time since April 14 when they were 3-4. On May 24, they were 27-17, one game out of the American League West while sitting in the top Wild Card spot.
Now, they are 27-28 and 8.5 back of the Houston Astros in the division. They have also fallen to half a game out of a Wild Card spot.
Angels failures extend to replay system
In a game where the game can be won or lost by a matter of inches, MLB has a system in which a manager can request a replay review of a call that can potentially swing the game in another direction. Unfortunately, Maddon hasn’t had much success when making these calls.
Maddon has been vocal in the past about the system’s deficiencies and hasn’t shied away from voicing when he’s believed some aspect of it needed modifications. This season, Maddon and the Angels replay staff have not been effective, but he remains confident in their process.