The Los Angeles Angels had a remarkably productive week after losing five games in a row. Despite not having Mike Trout or Justin Upton in the lineup, the Angels rattled off six wins in seven games, including a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. Joe Maddon — who has been criticized this season for bullpen decisions — has pulled all the right strings to get the team over .500 at 42-41.
Three of the Angels six wins over the past week came in extremely dramatic fashion. The first — against the New York Yankees — came via a seven-run ninth inning and a Jared Walsh game-tying grand slam. The second was a Walsh walk-off single against the Orioles. The third came on the Fourth of July, when the Angels strung together four consecutive singles to win with Juan Lagares’ first career walk-off hit.
Maddon profusely praised the Angels for sticking together and winning difficult games, crediting all of it to a refusal to quit and a wonderful vibe in the clubhouse, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It’s becoming a common theme,” Maddon said. “I love it. There’s no quit in this group. They’re always alive in the dugout. They’re always talking to each other. The veterans cannot set a better example, whether it’s pitchers or players. It’s just a wonderful vibe we’ve got going on.
“We had a nice lead and gave it up and these guys still believe we’re going to do that, even after the home by (Cedric) Mullins. Just another game that we have that to-the-very-end kind of attitude. It’s wonderful to be around.”
The Angels are over .500 for the first time since June 13 and just the third time since May 1. There is still a lot of baseball to be played, but the Angels are hopeful that a week like this will give them the momentum they need to make a serious playoff push.
There’s also something to be said about the Angels stringing these types of wins together without Trout or Upton, their best player and one of their best outfielders. If the Angels can carry this type of spirited play until those two are back, it could mean even better things.
Upton, Anthony Rendon, Taylor Ward all close to returns
Beyond Upton, Anthony Rendon and Taylor Ward both sustained minor injuries on the Fourth of July. While neither injury appears to be serious, all three players could be out for at least a game or two before eventually making their returns.