The Los Angeles Angels began a 10-game road trip on Monday in the Bronx for a makeup game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. It marked an opportunity for the Angels to play spoiler as the Yankees entered play only two games behind the Boston Red Sox for the second American League Wild Spot.
The Angels nonetheless faced a tough task in Gerrit Cole, who made his first start in over two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. L.A. wasted no time jumping out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Justin Upton sent a fastball from Cole into the left-field bleachers.
The Angels’ lead didn’t last long, however, as Joey Gallo responded with a two-run blast in the bottom of the first to give the Yankees a 2-1. That wound up holding as the final score, giving L.A. their seventh loss in the last 10 games.
Angels manager Joe Maddon is a fan of this frantic scheduling and believes his players will benefit from it, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group:
“When you get more active in a playoff situation, this kind of stuff happens,” Maddon said. “The schedule becomes hectic. It’s good to become used to hectic scheduling, different start times, playing when you’re not necessarily feeling 100 percent and still playing. These are the little things that can help you grow a little bit. That’s how I’m thinking through this thing. I want more of this. I want more of these uncomfortable, inconvenient moments that occur when you get in the playoffs.”
As Maddon pointed out, the Angels’ five-city stretch in 11 days is reminiscent of the postseason due to the stop-and-go traveling involved. Even though L.A. has all but mathematically been eliminated from playoff contention this year, Maddon hopes his young players can still find value from getting a preview of this type of scheduling.
At 59-61 with six weeks remaining in the regular season, it’s no secret things didn’t pan out for the Angels this season. Injuries played a major role in that as Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon were among the key players to miss a significant amount of games.
On the other hand, their absences have opened the door for several young players to get an extended look at the Major League level. Among them include Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell, who are now everyday starters in the outfield.
Maddon expects good things from Jose Suarez for ‘many years to come’
One bright spot from Monday’s loss to the Yankees was Jose Suarez’s solid start. He allowed just the two runs on four hits in five innings of work with six strikeouts.
At the conclusion of the game, Maddon praised Suarez and believes he will continue being an important member of the Angels’ rotation going forward.