Angels News: Joe Maddon Trying To Make ‘Adaptations’ On Fly With Shorthanded Rotation
Joe Maddon, 2021 Season
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Since completing a sweep of the Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Angels have gone on to lose five of their last six games, including two in a row to the Baltimore Orioles, who previously had dropped 19 consecutive contests.

Over that six-game stretch, the Angels’ pitching staff allowed an astonishing 48 runs, which partly can be attributed to the myriad of injuries surrounding the rotation.

Dylan Bundy sustained a right shoulder strain in his most recent start against the Orioles, Alex Cobb and Patrick Sandoval remain sidelined with respective wrist and back injuries, and Reid Detmers is unavailable after presumably testing positive for COVID-19.

The shorthanded Angels now travel back to Anaheim where they’ll begin a brief two-game series with the San Diego Padres on Friday, followed by seven games against the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

Angels manager Joe Maddon understands the upcoming homestand will be a challenge due to the lack of arms available, but hopes the club can make adaptions on the fly and play competitive baseball, per Savannah McCann of MLB.com:

“It’s a challenge,” said Maddon. “There’s no question about it. Honestly, I just always refer back to my Minor League days. … You try to put together your best game plan for the day that day, and then you go out there and try to work it. When you have to start making adaptations this time of the year, under the circumstances, you try to figure it out the best you can, knowing that it can or cannot work out or may not work out. It’s just that the group is so scattered, and you have new faces showing up all the time. It’s difficult, but I still believe that the Minor League training is the best.”

With the Angels currently down four starters, veteran Jose Quintana is expected to re-enter the rotation for the time being. His last start came on Aug. 19 when he allowed six runs (five earned) in 1.1 innings to the Tigers.

Other pitchers who could get looks for a potential spot start include Packy Naughton and Aaron Slegers. Naughton joined the team in Baltimore but has not been added to the active roster yet. He allowed one run in relief in his MLB debut on Aug. 8.

Slegers has exclusively pitched out of the bullpen for the Angels this season, putting up a 6.97 ERA and 1.87 WHIP in 29 appearances. He has previous experience in the rotation, however, making five starts with the Minnesota Twins from 2017-18 and another one with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020.

Detmers not worrying about early learning curve

Before he landed on the IL, Detmers had mostly struggled in his first four starts with the Angels, though there were some positive things to take away as well.

That’s to be expected for a 22-year-old pitcher who only made 13 starts in the Minors prior to being called up. Detmers is well aware of this and noted he isn’t worried about the growing pains he’ll likely continue experiencing in his first big league season.

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