There was no live chicken to sacrifice and a bonfire with bats made no sense, so in an attempt to end their two-week blip, the Angels all used the same walk-up song — part of Nickelback’s “Photograph” — throughout of Wednesday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox.
Who’s next, “Buttercup”?
Attempting a burglary buster didn’t work. The Angels failed to score against Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi and four assists in a 1-0 loss in front of a crowd of 26,587 at Angel Stadium, extending their franchise-record losing streak to 14 games, with seven of those losses lost by one run .
“I don’t know whose idea it was, but I like it, I like Nickelback,” said Phil Nevin after his second game as interim manager in place of the fired Joe Maddon. “I have a song in my head throughout the game and I can’t stop singing. … I mean, it was neat for a while.”
Boston scored the only run of the game in the sixth, an inning that started with Angels right-hander Jimmy Herget defeating Xander Bogaerts with a 75-mile turn and Trevor Story with a 92-mile fastball.
But Alex Verdugo kept the inning alive with a walk, and Bobby Dalbec sliced a 1-and-1 sinker into the right field corner for a double that Verdugo scored to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead from the start.
Eovaldi gave up six hits in five scoreless innings and struck out five, and Tyler Danish (one inning), Jake Diekman (one inning), John Schreiber (1 1/3 inning) and Matt Strahm (last two outs) blinded the Angels Rest of the way to make up for a solid start from Angels left-hander Reid Detmers who pitched 4 1/3 innings scoreless.
“It’s a broken record, I think,” said Nevin. “Good try. That’s a great throwing effort. We hit some balls at people again. … I keep saying it, the effort is good. These guys really want to win a game now. I mean, we all do. We know what that will mean for us.”
The Angels were 24-13 and tied for first place with Houston in the American League West on May 15. They lost 18 of their next 21 games, including the 14-game losing streak, falling to 27-31 and 9 ½ games behind the Astros.
According to Elias, the Angels are the third team in baseball history to have 10 or more games over .500 and go on a 10 or more game losing streak to drop below .500, joining the Oakland Athletics in 1978 and the Chicago Cubs in 1970.
Not since 1995 has an Angels club so suddenly slipped from first place to unlucky place. That team suffered two losing streaks in nine games beginning August 25 and lost an 11-game lead in the American League West against the Seattle Mariners, one of the worst breakdowns in baseball history.
These Angels went 73 straight innings without a lead during their first losing streak of nine games from August 25 through September. 3 and 75 straight innings without a lead during the nine-game second skid September 13-23.
This year’s team isn’t quite as weak – they actually led in the seventh inning or later in six of their 13 losses – but there are many parallels to 1995.
There have been glitches in rotation, bullpen and defense, a lack of clutch shots and a lack of quality at bats, or offense just gone, the Angels hit five runs in their first five games last week New York and Philadelphia .
The Angels were unable to combine good pitching with a robust offense on the same night. They’re playing a relatively strong game and the bullpen blows a late lead.
Key players such as Taylor Ward and Anthony Rendon were injured. Others, notably three-time AL MVP Mike Trout and reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani, have struggled.
Trout, who missed Wednesday night’s game due to left groin strain and is listed as a day-to-day, hit a career-high 26 at-bats without hitting until his first inning single Monday night. Ohtani hits .191 (nine for 47) with two home runs and four RBIs during the streak.
Several players have also admitted that they feel pressure to be the hero, the one who brings the series to an end, and that only seems to make things worse.
“What happens is you have the side you’re playing against and the second opponent is pressure,” said Tim Salmon, that club’s right fielder from 1995 and now one of the team’s broadcasters. “You feel so much pressure to end the streak that it’s almost like you’re playing with your arm tied behind your back.”
Salmon, 53, spent his 14-year career with the Angels from 1992 to 2006 and won a World Series with the team in 2002. Though he stressed he doesn’t condone violence, he said players and teams of his generation sometimes resorted to an attempt to sustain a prolonged slump.
“The mindset back when you were going through a loss was we need a good brawl,” Salmon said. “We’re meeting someone [with a pitch], and we will fight. What it did was have that energy, that excitement.
“You bled to death all over the place, you drink beer and talk about it after the game and have fun, it just brightens the mood and helps you get out of your mood. In a way, it’s almost like they need something like that. I wouldn’t condone fighting, but that’s how the game was played back then.”
Nevin says he thinks the Angels just need a couple of clutch hits and could catch a break or two. Singles from Juan Lagares and Brandon Marsh brought up two no outs in the second, but Jack Mayfield flew to the left, Kurt Suzuki jumped into second and Tyler Wade landed on the shortstop.
They put on two with two outs in the third, but Lagares struck out to end the inning.
Suzuki was hit by a pitch to open the bottom of seventh, but pinch-hitter Max Stassi landed in a 6-4-3 doubles with first baseman Christian Vazquez, a converted catcher who had an excellent stretch and a scoop of the backhand made Story’s one-hop throw while keeping his foot on the pocket.
“When you go out on the field every day, you feel like everyone’s relaxed, everyone’s ready to go,” Nevin said. “You can talk about it all you want, but it just takes a big hit or miss here and there. We just didn’t come across it and when we got one we just didn’t use it.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/story/2022-06-08/angels-franchise-record-losing-streak-extends-14-loss-red-sox Angels’ losing streak extends to 14 with loss to Red Sox