The Los Angeles Angels have lost several games this season on account of their bullpen, which has statistically been one of the worst in the Major Leagues this season. Joe Maddon has not lost faith in several of the relief crew’s key pieces, but the numbers have painted a very negative picture.
However, this wasn’t the case in the Angels victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. After starter Dylan Bundy allowed four runs in 2.1 innings, the bullpen came in and delivered a gem. They gave up just one run over 6.2 innings, allowing the Angels to come back from a 4-0 deficit to win 6-5. In particular, Aaron Slegers, Steve Cishek, Mike Mayers, and Raisel Iglesias were dominant.
Maddon gave all the credit to the bullpen, saying that the talented crew just needed some confidence, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“We have to beat these teams in our division and we have to know that and they have to know that, too,” Maddon said. “It starts right there. The bullpen has been much maligned but they did a great job. The only thing we need to get going with this group is their confidence. They are good. They’re very talented, they just don’t have that mojo, that confidence. But [they] will.”
The Angels bullpen has been a scapegoat for fans — and sometimes, rightfully so — but they have put together several key performances such as this one. For Slegers, Cishek, Mayers, and Iglesias to pitch six shutout innings in a close game situation is remarkable, and it’s the type of thing that gives a team hope moving forward.
Now, they’ll continue their divisional slate as they face the Texas Rangers and the Athletics once again. If they can string together some wins and overall solid performances, they could quickly find themselves back in the hunt.
Justin Upton applauds team effort
Angels left fielder Justin Upton spoke candidly after the win, saying that a 3-9 stretch could make it seem as though the team has given up. He ensured, however, that this is a very hard working and talented team that simply hasn’t had things go their way recently.