The Angels don’t need another no-hitter or a dramatic walk-off hit or a stunning two-way performance from Shohei Ohtani when they return to Anaheim for a seven-game homestand that begins Monday night, though all would be welcome.
What they need most is a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
A solid start from Patrick Sandoval and some clutch hits during a rare break out of five runs in the fourth inning on Sunday provided salve and some hope for a club that hadn’t won a game since May 24.
Then the Angels found a new and even more grueling way to lose, giving a four-barrel lead in the eighth inning and a one-barrel lead in the ninth to an underperforming Philadelphia Phillies team that fired manager Joe Girardi on Friday.
Closer Raisel Iglesias gave up a tied Grand Slam in eighth, and Jimmy Herget gave up a three-run homer on No. 9 Bryson Stott in ninth as the Phillies stormed back for a 9-7 walk-off win in front of 34,801 spectators at Citizens Bank Park.
“That was a tough question,” said Angels manager Joe Maddon. “We lost a lot of heavyweights. It really doesn’t make any sense. We have the right people out there at the right time, and again we gave up late. … It’s heartbreaking at times, no question.”
The Angels have now lost 11 straight games, 0-6 to the Phillies and New York Yankees on that trip, and 15 of their last 18. The 11 losses equal their second-longest streak in franchise history. The last such series was from August 4 to 15, 2016.
The Angels were 24-13 and tied for first place with Houston in the American League West on May 15. They are now 27-28, one game under .500 and 8 1/2 games behind the Astros.
“We’re a really good team,” Herget said. “We are the same team, that was what,  Games over .500? So, I think we’ll be fine.”
It’s been a familiar clubhouse chorus for the past week, but the Angels don’t sound very convincing. You don’t see it either.
They broke out to five runs in the fourth inning Sunday, matching their offensive performance in the first five games of the trip, with Matt Duffy (singles), Ohtani (doubles) and Mike Trout (walk) setting the table and Jared Walsh (two- Run Single), Jo Adell and Kurt Suzuki (RBI Singles) and Tyler Wade (RBI Fielder’s Choice) cleaning up.
They bet on an insurance run in the eighth on Brandon Marsh’s two-out RBI single for a 6-2 lead.
Ryan Tepera threw a one-two-three-seventh. Left-hander Aaron Loup took over in eighth, who started in third with Odubel Herrera’s single and Johan Camargo’s soft grounder to Duffy’s left. Duffy played the ball clean but threw into right field due to an error, putting the runners in first and third place.
“I’m just trying to be quick,” said Duffy. “Attempting to turn a double play on a grounder that was not a double play ball.”
Stott went for a fielder, but Loup joined Kyle Schwarber to load bases. Maddon summoned Iglesias, who had not courted since May 27.
The right-hander defeated Rhys Hoskins with a 90-mph switch and battled Harper during a seven-pitch-at-bat in which he threw five switches, the batter falling behind on 0s and 2s before going full count.
Iglesias left an 89.5 mph change over the middle. Harper, the 2021 National League Most Valuable Player, had Iglesias timed and crushed a 426-foot shot to the right for his sixth career grand slam and a 6-6 tie.
“Just a bad place,” Maddon said of home run place. “Just hit it. Throw the pitch where he can’t hit it, but we didn’t.
The Angels didn’t fold. Suzuki went to open the top of ninth place, Wade bounced off a fielder’s pick, stole second place and finished third in the groundout of pinch-hitter Luis Rengifo to shortstop.
Duffy then blasted a grounder from opposite field that slipped under the gauntlet of the sliding Hoskins at first base for an RBI single and a 7-6 Angels lead.
But Iglesias dropped a one-out single to Alec Bohm and a two-out single to Didi Gregorious in the ninth before yielding to Herget, who threw Stott three balls in a row. Herget came back with two shots but left a 75mph turn over center that crushed Stott for his game winner.
“It was a pitch I believed in, a pitch I threw all year and beat the boys with,” said Herget, who has a 2.77 ERA in 18 appearances. “I threw it. He hit it. It’s unfortunate. Of course I let the team down.”
The clubhouse was as quiet after the game as Trout’s had asked for a week. The Angels midfielder went 0-3 with a walk on Sunday, extending his career-struggling streak to 26 at-bats.
A team meeting was not necessary. The Angels have already had two on this journey, said Duffy, one driven by players, one by a coach.
“By this point, we’re through with the debriefings,” said Duffy. “We are all professionals. We know what we have to do to win ball games.”
The key, Duffy said, is to relax and not push yourself like they’ve done all too often on this journey.
“At a track like this you tend to try to do too much, which I may have done [eighth-inning] groundball,” Duffy said. “That ninth inning almost felt like Game 7 of the World Series, and it’s not. We must [remember to] Stay within ourselves, play our best game and nothing more.”
The Angels put right fielder Taylor Ward on the 10-day injured list due to a minor right hamstring strain and recalled Triple-A Salt Lake outfielder Jo Adell.
Ward was one of baseball’s top hitters in mid-May, hitting .370 in his first 30 games with a 1.194 on-base plus slugging percentage, nine home runs and 23 RBIs.
But he hasn’t been the same since he slammed face-first into the wall to catch a flyball on May 20 and sustained a spike in his neck and right shoulder when he scored .167 (four for 24) with a homer and three RBIs hit his last eight games.
Ward’s hamstring strained during Friday night’s game and he sat out Saturday night’s game. Ward also missed Opening Day with a groin injury and sat out a few games with a hamstring injury in mid-May. He has played in just 38 of the team’s 55 games.
“Absolutely,” Ward said when asked if he was sick of all his nagging injuries. “It’s really, really annoying.”
Ward’s recent setback created an opportunity for Adell, who hit .215 with .627 OPS in the first month of the season before being demoted to Salt Lake in early May.
Adell hit .478 (11 for 23) with five homers and 10 RBIs in his first eight Triple-A games, but hit .122 (5 for 41) with one homer and five RBIs in his last 12 games.
“He had such a good start, then a little bit of trouble, but we know how that feels,” Maddon said before the game. “Let’s get him up here, let’s see if we can let him go a bit, see if he can help us.”
The Angels demoted Ward because they thought he was better off playing in the minor leagues every day than in the big leagues sporadically. Adell should be given more playing time while Ward is out but Maddon hasn’t committed to Adell playing every day.
“I’ve got to make this work,” said Adell, who had an RBI infield single in four at-bats and made a nice running catch in right field in Sunday’s 9-7 loss to the Phillies. “I have to get used to that. It’s a competitive team with a lot of good players and I won’t necessarily be out there every day. On the days that I am, try to compete.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/story/2022-06-05/angels-phillies-11-game-losing-streak-walkoff-home-run Angels’ losing skid hits 11 in walk-off loss to Phillies