The Los Angeles Angels secured a rare style of victory on Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. In a 9-1 win, the Angels scored over seven runs for the first time since June 21. Even more concerning, it was just their sixth time scoring over five runs since May 15.
Runs have come at a serious premium for the Angels since their season took a complete downturn in mid-May, but Sunday showed some encouraging signs. For interim manager Phil Nevin, the team’s early aggression was something to celebrate with five runs scored in the opening frame.
Nevin had been preaching early aggression and getting the first lead in a game. It hasn’t been happening nearly as often as it needs to for the Angels to be successful, making it a welcomed sight for Nevin and the Halos, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“Jumping out early, we’ve seen that against us several times lately,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “It was just nice to see us jump out of the gate like that. They were good quality at-bats. We jumped on some pitches we saw early in the zone and didn’t miss them against a good pitcher.”
It was just one night before that the Braves jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning. Given the way the Angels have been swinging the bats, mounting a comeback win is a far more daunting task than simply holding a lead. On Sunday, they proved the kind of day they can have when they are aggressive early.
Beyond just the first-inning barrage, Nevin saw plenty of things that gave him hope during Sunday’s performance.
“We were able to put the ball in play and make things happen and be aggressive on the bases.” Nevin said. “I liked a lot of things today.”
The Angels have long been seeking a momentum boost. Perhaps Sunday’s victory was just that, as they head to Missouri to face the also down-on-their-luck Kansas City Royals. The Royals represent a stark difference from the reigning World Series champions, and a little win streak could go a long way towards salvaging this season.
Now, the focus turns to what the Angels need to do to sustain Sunday’s offensive rhythm. Unlike their previous offensive bursts this season, L.A. can no longer afford for this to be a one-time effort.
Mike Trout may need more time on IL
Angels superstar Mike Trout is eligible to return from the IL on Monday, but Nevin did not sound too positive about the prospect of that happening. According to the Angels interim manager, Trout may need some extra time to get fully healthy, even if the team desperately needs his bat back in the lineup.