The Los Angeles Angels are in a full-blown downward spiral and there’s not much else to be said other than the only way to go from this point—is up. Fortunately for the Angels, manager Joe Maddon has guided one of his old clubs through a stretch of games just like this.
Prior to Monday’s loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Angels averaged 3.18 runs per game during their losing streak, and after being shut out in that first game, will see that average drop again.
Maddon has tried to retain a positive mindset during this stretch, and he’s encouraged by the continued fight from his team. He believes that mindset can eventually translate to wins, and he’s seen it happen before, he said via J.P. Hoornstra of the O.C. Register:
“One year (the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays) were 18 games under .500 and we ended up 60-60” – actually 61-61 – “which is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. … Things like this can change on a dime,” Maddon said. “If you give up mentally it can’t happen, and that’s the message.”
Maddon has maintained that the Angels are still playing hard but admits they are swimming upstream and are slumping in every aspect of the game.
To help keep a positive mindset, the club has added posters along their hallways that show when times were better and remind them they are still that club:
Recently, three blown-up photo posters were hung along the hallway wall. Two depict celebratory shots following walk-off victories over the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals in April and May, respectively. The other shows Reid Detmers on the day of his no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 10. Collectively, they serve as reminders of better times.
The Angels have seen their run differential plummet to just +10 and are entering dangerous territory where a losing streak can consume the team and become the looming narrative for the rest of the season if things don’t turn soon.
Angels nearly ended losing streak before bullpen meltdown
The Angels looked like they were finally going to end their losing streak on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies. They entered the bottom of the eighth inning leading 6-2 with their two best relievers yet to pitch.
Aaron Loup started the inning on the mound, but after Odubel Herrera singled, Bryson Stott reached on a fielder’s choice, and Kyle Schwarber walked, Angels manager Joe Maddon went to his closer, Raisel Iglesias, to attempt to get them out of the one-out, bases loaded jam.
Iglesias struck out Rhys Hoskins, but then Bryce Harper came to the plate. Iglesias took Harper to a full count but left a pitch over the plate and Harper blasted it out of the park to tie the game.
The Angels ended up taking the lead back in the ninth to go up 7-6 and Maddon stuck with Iglesias on the mound. The right-hander gave up two singles before he was replaced by Jimmy Herget, who took Stott to a full count before giving up a three-run walk-off home run.
The Angels were in such a good position to end their losing streak, which makes the loss even more challenging to deal with, Maddon said after the game.