The Angels did not lose again Wednesday night. The weather put at least a temporary halt to their two-week tailspin when their game against the New York Yankees was rained out.
The game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader Thursday, with Shohei Ohtani scheduled to oppose Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes in the first game at 10 a.m. PDT and Reid Detmers scheduled to oppose Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon in the 4 p.m. nightcap. Thursday’s forecast calls for more rain.
The Angels have lost six straight and 10 of their last 13, going from a 24-13 record and a first-place tie with Houston in the American League West on May 15 to a 27-23 mark and five games behind the Astros after the Angels’ 9-1 loss Tuesday to the Yankees.
But Angels general manager Perry Minasian does not think the team’s struggles are severe enough to warrant major shakeups in the lineup, rotation and bullpen.
“I don’t look at things in six-game blocks,” Minasian said before Wednesday’s game was postponed. “We’re two months in, and our goal two months in is to be in the mix. Right now, we’re in the mix. Do we want to win more games? Sure. That being said, we’re in a decent spot right now.
“Are we playing well? No. But I’m not one to react to a short sample of a week. We really like this group. We like the players. And we’ll have a really competitive team over time. It’s going to win a lot of games.”
The Angels lost third baseman Anthony Rendon to a right-wrist injury last week, and right fielder Taylor Ward has struggled to regain his stroke after missing most of last week because of a neck/shoulder injury.
Two key hitters are struggling. Mike Trout is batting .160 (four for 25) with a .512 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, one homer, two RBIs, nine strikeouts and no walks in his last six games. Ohtani is batting .158 (three for 19) with a .911 OPS, two homers, four RBIs, eight strikeouts and four walks in his last seven games.
Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera, the team’s top two relievers in front of closer Raisel Iglesias, were effective for most of the first six weeks of the season. Neither has been even remotely reliable over the last week and a half.
The left-handed Loup had a 1.62 ERA in his first 17 games. He has a 31.50 ERA in his last four appearances, giving up seven earned runs and nine hits, including one homer and four doubles, in two innings. He retired only six of 18 batters faced.
The right-handed Tepera had a 2.08 ERA in his first 16 games. He has a 16.20 ERA in is last five games, giving up six earned runs and five hits (including a homer) in 3 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking four.
Tepera has struggled to find the strike zone all season, throwing 184 of his 329 pitches (56%) for strikes. He’s been more erratic in his last five games, throwing 43 of his 84 pitches for strikes (51%).
“You know, we’re just going through a little skid right now,” Trout said. “Every team goes through it. We’ve got a lot of a lot of baseball left. We had a great start. We hit a little rough patch but we’re staying positive.”
The Angels could use another bat, but a promotion of outfielder Jo Adell, who was sent to triple-A in early May, does not appear imminent. Adell hit .234 with a 1.008 OPS, six homers and 14 RBIs in first 17 games for Salt Lake, but he has 23 strikeouts and 13 walks in 79 plate appearances.
Minasian believes Adell, who also needs to improve his overall defensive play, will benefit by playing every day at triple-A.
“Jo has some things to work on, and his attitude has been great,” Minasian said. “He’s a guy we feel really good about. We think has a really bright future. And like I said before, at some point, he’s going to come back up and help us win games.
“It’s a really tough game. The jump from double-A and triple-A to the major leagues is as big as it’s ever been. The speed of the game is different. The prep for the game is different. The amount of information is different. Jo has done a great job of understanding what needs to be done and putting in the work.”