Joe Maddon: Angels Must Approach Lighter June Schedule With ‘Playoff Mentality’
Andrew Heaney, Joe Maddon, Kurt Suzuki, 2021 Season
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels struggled mightily in the month of May. They went 12-18 for the month, showing negative regressions in most of the important statistics, including bullpen ERA and runs per game. However, Joe Maddon never lost faith, and now believe that things are starting to turn in their favor.

He may be right, as the Angels have won six of their last nine games, seven of which were against teams over .500 and currently in the playoffs. In fact, between May 3 and June 1, the Angels played 29 games overall and 25 of them were against teams over .500 and in the playoffs currently.

For a team that lost its best player in Mike Trout halfway through the month, that is a gauntlet. They went 12-17 in this span, but started playing great baseball towards the end. And now, their June schedule is far more favorable.

Heading into a 17-game stretch where 14 games are against opponents at or below .500, Maddon preached a playoff mentality to get back into the playoff picture, according to Jack Harris of The L.A. Times:

“Very large,” he said, recognizing a key opportunity even with the season only one-third complete. “We have to approach this with almost a playoff mentality, daily. I know that may be kind of a reach. But my intention is not to go home at the end of the season and watch other teams in the playoffs. My intention, our intention is to be one of those teams. In order for that to happen, it has to start sooner rather than later.”

“You just can’t keep putting this off and expect to turn the switch on after the All-Star break and have great things happen. We got to start getting those wins. We got to win series and we got to win weeks. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

The Angels are definitely at a massive crossroads in their season. They sit at 25-30 — 6.5 games back in the division and six games back in the wild card race — with that previously mentioned light stretch of schedule upcoming.

If they perform well against teams they should beat, then they can put themselves right back in the playoff race, especially with the Oakland Athletics buried in the middle of that stretch as well.

If they struggle and fail to win games consistently, then contending teams are going to come calling and looking for talented veterans on one year deals. The Angels have long praised the chemistry in this year’s clubhouse, so it’s up to them if they want to keep that together.

Anthony Rendon breaks out of slump

Maddon was ecstatic on behalf of Anthony Rendon, who broke out of a month-long slump in a big way, collecting five RBI’s in an Angels win over the San Francisco Giants. The Angels manager said that he expects Rendon to continue to swing the bat well and that in a month, he’ll look completely back to normal.

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