The Los Angeles Angels could not have gotten off to a worse start on Saturday after defeating the L.A. Dodgers handily the night before. After three nearly perfect innings from Dylan Bundy and Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers broke out of their nightmare offensive slump in a massive way, even prompting Joe Maddon to remove some players from the game altogether.
An eight-hit inning in which the Bundy and Steve Cishek faced a combined 14 batters caused the Angels to fall behind 8-0. Then, the onslaught continued in the fifth, as the Dodgers batted around the order in back-to-back innings to take a 13-0 lead halfway through the game. At this point, Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Jose Iglesias were all removed.
However, the game did not end there. The Angels scraped together four runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to Jared Walsh, Taylor Ward, and Jon Jay. Then, Walsh, Ward, and Jose Rojas struck again in the seventh to bring seven more runs to plate. Heading into the eighth, the Dodgers 13-0 lead had been slashed to 14-11.
The scoring would stop there, but Maddon had already seen enough to be impressed by his team. He called the almost historic comeback a big moment for the team moving forward, according to Daniel Guerrero of MLB.com:
“That’s kind of a bonding moment in a sense,” Maddon said. “Say like certain guys who have this opportunity to ascend, we’ve talked about that and they’re taking advantage of it. I want to believe even though we didn’t win the game, that kind of a feeling, method, thought process, methodology regarding not quitting has to sustain. I mean they’re going to carry that with them, we’re going to carry that with us. So I thought it was great, really proud of the boys.”
What made the moment incredibly special is that the Angels were able to do it without Trout, Upton, or Anthony Rendon, who is currently shelved on the Injured List. Seeing non-stars — and especially home-grown players — score 11 runs in two innings could serve a massive momentum boost moving forward.
Although the Angels lost and dropped to 14-18 on the season, a solid performance on Sunday could ensure that this series serves as a turning point for the remainder of the season. A 2-1 showing against the Dodgers — despite all of their struggles — could be a difference maker for a team that desperately needed momentum.
Maddon believes Angels lineup is dangerous if David Fletcher performs well
Fletcher did not have his best night on Saturday — batting just 1-of-5 — after a huge outing on Friday. However, Maddon still firmly believes that Fletcher performing well is the key to unlocking the best parts of the Angels offense.