As the 2021 regular season dwindles to a close, final scores are no longer of great concern to the Los Angeles Angels. With 24 games left, Joe Maddon’s club sits 10 games out of the nearest playoff spot, putting a different spotlight on their September performances.
For the rest of the season, the Angels are all about looking at what they have for next season. Because of this, Maddon can still find plenty of silver linings, even when the team loses 4-0 to the lowly Texas Rangers to force a four-game series split.
The Angels mustered just five hits all night, with Rangers starting pitcher A.J. Alexy allowing just one hit over 6.0 innings of work. Two of their hits belonged to Jared Walsh, while the other eight batters in the lineup went a combined 3-for-26 with two walks.
Maddon went into those silver linings following the loss that dropped the Angels to 68-70 on the year, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I liked a lot of that game tonight from our perspective,” Maddon said. “Give them credit. They got us. From a pitching perspective, they got us. But there’s a lot to like about what we did tonight in regards to how the game is played.”
“Tonight is a great example of well-place defense,” Maddon said. “We just kept hitting balls right at them all night long.”
The Angels manager also praised Alexy for his performance, again saying that this was simply one of those nights.
“I thought their pitcher was good,” Maddon said. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never seen him before, but I like his arm stroke. I like his mound presence. I like the pitch mix. Absolutely. But a little unlucky for us tonight.”
“There’s nothing to be upset about,” he said. “I thought we caught the ball well. We moved well. We had good at-bats. We pitched well. It’s just one of those nights it did not want to turn in our favor.”
None of what Maddon is saying sounds like a manager who is concerned about the results of individual games, rather things that he can view as building blocks. He certainly could take away some of that from this game.
Luis Rengifo — who has struggled at shortstop in limited time — was solid, turning a number of double plays. Jaime Barria put together seven innings of work after recent difficulties going deep into games. Jo Adell reached base twice in a game with only seven total baserunners.
For the last 24 games of the season, this is what it’s all about for the Angels. Record-wise, hovering .500 would be nice, but it’s not a guarantee.
Adell continuing to improve
Adell has already proven that he’s significantly better than what he showed in 2020. Even though the numbers aren’t where he would like them to be, he’s even proved that he’s better than those figures.
He spoke about his changed approach at the plate, and how it’s led to decreases in strikeout rate and increases in solid contact.