Joe Maddon: Angels ‘Played Well’ Vs. Astros Despite Results
Joe Maddon, Max Stassi, Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh, Matt Duffy, Tyler Wade
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels didn’t start their season on the best note, dropping three of their first four games of 2022 to the division rival Houston Astros.

The slow start follows a 2021 season where they finished 77-85 before an aggressive offseason and the start of a youth movement as they look to get back into the playoffs.

But they were outscored 20-10 to start the season, including a 13-6 blowout their second game of their season. Their only victory came on a 2-0 win behind a strong club debut from Noah Syndergaard, who pitched 5.1 innings while allowing only two hits.

While it wasn’t the start the Angels were looking for, manager Joe Maddon is still confident in his team and liked the way they were playing, he said via Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:

“By no means am I discouraged,” the Angels manager said. “We played really well against that particular team right now. And we actually pitched very well against that team right now outside of one game and that was the latter part of our bullpen. Otherwise that game was very close too, so don’t be deceived. We’re very close to Houston.

“I liked the way we played a lot. I liked our energy a lot. There’s certain things we’ve got to get better at. I agree. But we’re very close to beating that team.”

There is also reason for hope after multiple strong pitching performances from the rotation, which has been a problem for the team over the past few season.

Shohei Ohtani started the season well by throwing 4.2 innings and allowing just one run. That was followed by a four inning, two-run performance during the MLB debut of Reid Detmers, the team’s first round pick two years ago.

In the final game of the series, Jose Suarez threw 4.1 innings and allowed just two runs as well.

L.A. will need their starters to continue their success and eventually pitch deeper into games, but it was an encouraging start for the group after a shortened Spring Training.

The Angels will look to get back in the win column on Monday night when they begin a two-game series with the Miami Marlins before they travel to Texas to face the Rangers.

Angels have no plans to limit Syndergaard

Syndergaard signed a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels before the lockout but he has pitched just 2.0 innings since 2019. In those two innings, he was not allowed to throw breaking balls.

This was all a part of his recovery from Tommy John surgery, which saw him lose two seasons of his prime after being one of the most dominant pitchers of the latter half of the 2010s.

However, Syndergaard is fully recovered from his injury now and Joe Maddon has no plans to limit his team’s highest paid starter.

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