The Los Angeles Angels started the year as one of the hottest teams across Major League Baseball, but after a franchise-record 14-game losing streak, they found themselves with an interim manager and having to climb out of a massive self-inflicted hole.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian decided to relieve manager Joe Maddon of his duties after the club dropped their 12th straight loss, a move that shocked fans, players, and even Maddon. However, Minasian made the move with optimism they can turn their season around and make the playoffs.
The Angels were 11 games over .500 in mid-May and were finally showing what their talent could do when they put it all together, but that magic ended, and Maddon believed too much happened too fast, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“(Weeks ago) we were being hailed as one of the best surprises of the year. Now 10 days later, we’re not. That’s the part that’s difficult. … We just needed more time, we all needed more time. It’s just a bad evaluation, but there’s nothing I can do about it.” — Maddon after getting fired by the Angels on Tuesday.
Third-base coach Phil Nevin took over for Maddon and the team ended their skid against the Boston Red Sox on June 9. Two days later, they beat a talented New York Mets team 11-6 and reminded a lot of people they can still score when it all clicks:
“We don’t need games like tonight to know we’re a good team,” pitcher Michael Lorenzen said. “We know. We believe.”
Unfortunately for the Angels, they sit in third place in the American League West and trail the Houston Astros by 8.5 games. Minasian hopes Nevin will bring a new voice to the clubhouse that helps them get back on track.
Nevin’s bullpen strategy
The Angels are still in the aftermath of the worst stretch in team history, and the bullpen’s inability to perform was a glaring issue. However, Nevin believes communication with his relievers will be a step in the right direction.
Dating back to May 25, the start of their historic losing streak, the Angels bullpen posted an ERA of 5.25 and a FIP of 4.75, while allowing an opposing batting average of .270, all of which rank in the bottom 10 in Major League Baseball.
Their usage is a huge factor, and with 73.2 innings pitched (No. 4 in MLB) since May 25, Nevin expressed his desire to avoid using multiple relievers in an inning as much as possible and have stronger communication with them.