The Houston Astros took a 2-1 series win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday courtesy of a 9-1 win. Angels pitching had another bad night, allowing five home runs and 12 hits, including a three-run first inning. However, Joe Maddon’s offense was equally unproductive, which has not been the case many times this season.
Without Mike Trout, Justin Upton, or David Fletcher (rest) in the lineup, the Angels had very few reliable bats to turn to. Jared Walsh and Shohei Ohtani, who had been incredible recently, both went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Four of their six hits came from Jose Iglesias and Jon Jay.
Maddon, surprisingly, did not have anything to say about the offensive struggles in the loss. Instead, he turned his focus towards pitching and what they could have done better, according to Megan Garcia of MLB.com:
“The thing is, if we’re going to beat these guys, and when we do beat these guys, you have to pitch better than good pitching, that’s really what it comes down to,” manager Joe Maddon said. “They have a great offensive club, I think we do, also. We have to pitch better than their pitching. It’s no more complicated than that,”
There have been plenty of discussions internally and with the public about the Angels pitching this season, and how it may not be as bad as some of the numbers show. This makes Maddon’s comments about the pitching even more impactful, as this is one of the first times this season he has blamed the pitching for a loss.
The Angels rank among the worst in multiple pitching stats, including ERA. However, their FIP — fielding-independent pitching — has been their saving grace in terms of waiting for a regression to the mean.
Now, it’s just about putting things together in the midst of a difficult stretch of schedule. Since the beginning of their home stand against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Angels are 3-7, with series’ against the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, and Oakland Athletics still to come this month.
Maddon defends decision to rest stars
Maddon was asked to explain his choice to rest Trout, Upton, and Fletcher for Wednesday night’s game. He said that having two full days off could be a great way for those players to reset and start fresh on Friday.