What Angels manager Joe Maddon described as a “big bump in the road” on Friday afternoon felt more like Heartbreak Hill on Friday night.
Blown out in a 10-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the Angels continued a two-and-a-half week free fall that threatens to wipe out all of the good spirit and momentum they’ve built over an impressive six-week start make.
The Angels have lost nine straight games — their first such streak since August 4-15, 2016 — and 13 of 16 games, going 24-13 and a May 15 first-place tie in the American League West fallen on May 27-26 are 7 1/2 games behind Houston.
Their starting lineup was spotty, their relief work erratic, and their offense virtually nonexistent in a four-game trip that saw the Angels edged 27-3 by the New York Yankees and the Phillies.
“It looks awful, and when you’re not hitting it looks like you’re lifeless,” Maddon said. “But if you don’t score, a lot of things look wrong. We’ll stay with the boys. We will be back. it will be fine But in the meantime, it’s difficult to see.”
The two hitters the Angels rely on most — Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani — have remained silent during the losing streak.
Trout, a native of Millville, NJ, who has been playing his first series in Philadelphia since 2014, went dead in four at-bats Friday and hits .114 (four for 35) with a .413 percentage on base plus slugging. a homer, two RBIs, 13 strikeouts and a walk in his last nine games.
Ohtani went dead in three at-bats Friday and is hitting .133 (four for 30) in his last 10 games with .700 OPS, two homers, four RBIs, 13 strikeouts and six walks.
Trout received a warm welcome from a sizable contingent of fans coming up the 45-mile drive from Millville before his first shot, but he couldn’t give them a reason to cheer throughout the game.
He struck in the first inning, flew to left field in third and was stripped of his hits in the sixth when second baseman Nick Maton made a dive catch of his pop-up in flat right field, and eight when Odubel Herrera made a dive catch of his flyball for the left field.
“I think maybe he’s trying to back the whole team up a little bit too much,” Maddon said of Trout. “I want him to be just Mike Trout, go play. He’s trying a little too hard. That’s how I see it.
“He is one of the leaders of the team. He wants it to be true. He wants to take us there. He is a very responsible person. He’s all these different things, and I think maybe he’s trying to carry the team.
The underperforming Phillies, who were off to an uninspiring 22-29 start, fired manager Joe Girardi earlier Friday and replaced him with bench coach Rob Thomson.
“It’s tough, man,” Maddon said of Girardi. “It’s early in the season, honestly, and I’m telling you, things are changing. As quickly as they switch in one direction, they can also switch back in the other.”
It took a pitch for the Phillies to make the switch Friday night. Kyle Schwarber smashed the first pitch of the game from Angels right-hander Chase Silseth, a 95-mile fastball, into the trees behind the midfield wall for a 432-foot homer.
Bryson Stott hit a three-run homer down right field and led 4-0 for the Phillies in the second. Jamie Barria replaced Silseth in the second and delivered a three-run homer to Bryce Harper in the fifth for a 7-0 lead.
Maton hit an RBI triple in the fifth, a sinking liner that ricocheted past a diving Taylor Ward in right field to take an 8-0 lead. Ward was pulled in the sixth due to a right hamstring strain.
“I felt something in my hamstring early on and decided to tell them,” Ward said. “I’m not sure [when I’ll be able to play again]. I will take it day by day.”
Schwarber and Harper added solo home runs in the sixth for a 10-0 lead. The Angels had just five hits from right-hander Zach Elfin, who pitched eight scoreless innings.
Maddon held a pre-game meeting with the team’s batsmen, during which he addressed the at-bats qualification and the importance of fighting at the plate. The results weren’t in as of Friday night, but Maddon says he thinks the effort was big.
“If you don’t score, it looks like you’re not doing anything right, I get that,” Maddon said. “But I learned that a long time ago – you never question an athlete’s heart unless you absolutely believe. And I would say that our performance is not good. But I don’t question the heart.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/story/2022-06-03/angels-losing-streak-philadelphia-phillies-mlb Angels fall in blowout to Phillies for ninth consecutive loss