The Los Angeles Angels — in what has become a theme this season — once again lost a lead late in a game, this time against the Boston Red Sox. The Angels held a 3-2 lead when Joe Maddon went to the bullpen in relief of a much-improved Griffin Canning.
Maddon chose to go with Tony Watson, who had done a good job this season of avoiding the home run ball. The complexion of the game changed instantly, as a single by Hunter Renfroe and a home run by Bobby Dalbec gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead that they wouldn’t lose.
Maddon spoke about the loss and the positives and negatives he’s seeing from it, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“We played well,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “It was a nice game. We had the lead. The right guys available on the mound. It didn’t play out. It’s frustrating. We’ve got to keep fighting through it and we will. I like the attitude of the team right now. I like the vibe. It’s great. We just have to finish these games off. We’ve lost games late too often. I do believe this bullpen is better than it has shown on a consistent basis.”
Since defeating the Dodgers in the Freeway Series — something many assumed would be a turning point for the Angels season — they have gone just 1-3. They are now 16-21, the first time they’ve been five games below .500 all season.
While there are still 125 games left, Maddon and the Angels must quickly figure out how to start holding onto leads and, in turn, win games more consistently. This team has far too much talent to finish with a below .500 record, and it’s on the Angels coaching staff and front office to assist in turning things around.
The Angels have a brutally difficult schedule for the remainder of the month of May. However, they can use it as an opportunity to break out of their slump in a big way. If they don’t it may set them back too far to recover.
Canning continuing to pitch well after early season struggles
For a few starts, Canning looked borderline unplayable as the fifth starter in the rotation. However, he has cleaned up his act in a major way. Over his last 17 innings, he has allowed just three earned runs. The Angels were unable to get him a win on Friday, but his performance should still be encouraging.