Angels News: Joe Maddon Credits Raisel Iglesias & Pitchers For Success In Close Games
Raisel Iglesias, Max Stassi, 2021 Season
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels went into their Freeway Series opener against the L.A. Dodgers without Anthony Rendon, Mike Trout, Jared Walsh, or Shohei Ohtani in the starting lineup. Joe Maddon had no choice but to throw out a less-than-ideal lineup against one of baseball’s all-time great rosters.

Because of this, it was up to the pitchers to keep the Angels alive, and they were up to the task. Patrick Sandoval started and pitched five innings. Despite traffic on the bases in almost every inning, Sandoval worked through jams and allowed just two total runs. Then, Jose Quijada, Sam Selman, and Austin Warren combined to pitch four innings of scoreless baseball.

In extra innings, Raisel Iglesias got the job done yet again, collecting his 24th save of the year as the Angels defeated the Dodgers 4-3. Believe it or not, the Angels now hold MLB’s best winnings percentage in one-run games this season, with a 20-9 record in such games.

Maddon credited the back-end of the Angels bullpen — including Iglesias — for the team’s close-game dominance this season, according to Bill Plunkett of The O.C. Register:

“Raisel Iglesias has a lot to do with it,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of his closer. “(Steve) Cishek’s done a lot of good work. So did Tony Watson while he was here. Mike Mayers had been doing really well too. We’ve had guys who have permitted us to win in the latter part of the game. Iggy has come in and done multiple innings at times.

“It can be serendipitous. … All we do is play close games. That’s all we do.”

For a team whose bullpen has, rightfully, caught some series heat for blowing games and allowing inherited runners to score, the advanced metrics favor the Angels bullpen when the stakes are highest. Iglesias is the leader in that clubhouse, and it’s the biggest reason the team decided not to deal him at the trade deadline.

With that thrilling win over the Dodgers, the Halos have now won four straight and are looking to keep it going with two more solid outings against their Freeway Series rivals.

Maddon says Dodgers series is glimpse into Angels future

Sandoval was Friday’s starter, and he certainly held his own against a talented lineup. Jaime Barria and Reid Detmers will take Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Prior to the series, Maddon was excited to see what his young pitchers had in store against the Dodgers, saying that it will be a glimpse into the team’s pitching future.

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