The Los Angeles Angels had a real shot to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in an attempt to avenge their four-game sweep from the beginning of May. Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon hit first-inning home runs to give them a headstart, but it didn’t matter. A poor first inning by Taylor Ward and Griffin Canning as well as some late-game errors led to a Rays win.
It was the Angels fourth straight loss, and it simply didn’t need to be that way. Canning threw his first pitch with the Angels sporting a 2-0 lead, but gave up three runs in the first inning. One of those runs came off a two-base error by Ward. Later in the game, Ward failed to communicate with Jose Iglesias and Rendon on a fly ball that should have been his, and it helped lead the Rays to the game-winning run.
Ward did not want to make any excuses about his lack of execution in the series opener, even though he was out of position while at a difficult ballpark to play the outfield in, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Just a miscommunication,” Ward said. “I should have caught that ball.”
“There’s a little factor (of the ballpark) in there for sure. I don’t want to make any excuses. I should have caught both those baseballs.”
The second part of his comment stemmed from Joe Maddon — who has experience at Tropicana Field — saying that the color of the roof has a strong effect on outfielders ability to see the ball, especially if they’ve never played there before.
“We had a tough day in the outfield today,” Maddon said.
“The roof can be problematic,” said Maddon, who managed the Rays from 2006 to 2014. “It’s not an easy place to play the outfield, if you have not played here lately, or at all.”
The Angels have to do something quickly to gain back the momentum they had when they won 10 of 14 and six consecutive games. Otherwise, they’ll fall right back out of a playoff race that they fought desperately to get back into. A few more losing streaks like this one in the short time before the All-Star Break could be the difference between buying and selling at the trade deadline.
The Rays are 5-0 against the Angels, but that must change in the last two games before the Halos head to New York to take on the New York Yankees.
Maddon discusses situational improvements
For the second game in a row, it felt as though the Angels failed to play good baseball in the situations that demand it most. Maddon spoke about this after a 9-3 loss in 13 innings to the San Francisco Giants, and it has rung true for a majority of the season.