Angels snap their three-game losing streak with comeback win over Athletics

Justin Upton celebrates with Shohei Ohtani after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Ohtani during the seventh inning.
Justin Upton, left, celebrates with Shohei Ohtani after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Ohtani during the seventh inning of the Angels’ 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on Sunday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Angels ended their three-game losing streak Sunday with a 6-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Follow our live updates throughout the Angels’ series against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium. You can expect news, notes and analysis in real-time before, during and after the game.

Angels rally twice for 6-5 comeback win over Athletics

The Angels celebrate their 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Angels rallied for three runs in the seventh inning and another in the eighth for a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Oakland Athletics in Angel Stadium on Sunday, snapping a three-game losing streak.

With the score tied 5-5, Taylor Ward led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk and took second on Kurt Suzuki’s sacrifice bunt. David Fletcher lined a hard single to right to put runners on first and third, and Justin Upton followed with a fly ball to medium left field.

Ward challenged the arm of left fielder Chad Pinder, tagging up and easily beating the throw home with a head-first slide into the plate for a 6-5 Angels lead. Closer Raisel Iglesias struck out two of three batters in the ninth for the win.

The Angels had trailed 4-2 in the seventh when Fletcher walked with one out off reliever Sergio Romo. Upton hit a bloop single to shallow left-center, and pinch-hitter Jose Rojas lined a run-scoring single to right-center to pull the Angels to within 4-3.

Not since the legendary Babe Ruth has a player dominated on the mound and at the plate like the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani.

Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases. Cleanup batter Juan Lagares was almost to the plate when he was called back, and out of the dugout popped two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the slugger eliciting a huge roar from the reduced-capacity crowd of 15,154.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin summoned left-hander Reymin Guduan to face Ohtani, who smoked a 111-mph line drive to right fielder Seth Brown for a sacrifice fly and a 4-4 tie. Iglesias followed with an RBI single to right-center for a 5-4 Angels lead.

With the Angels out of position players, Ohtani remained in the game in right field, with Ward moving from right to center. Left-hander Tony Watson entered for the Angels but couldn’t hold the lead.

Matt Olson walked to open the eighth, Matt Chapman popped out to third, pinch-hitter Stephen Piscotty walked, and Chad Pinder flied to center.

Sean Murphy followed with a grounder up the middle that caromed off Watson’s glove and a few feet toward third base. Watson retrieved the ball but threw low and past the first baseman for an error that allowed Olson to score for a 5-5 tie.

Iglesias replaced Watson and got pinch-hitter Elvis Andrus to pop out to second to end the inning.

Angels starter Dylan Bundy, the team’s “ace” entering the season, lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs and five hits, including Olson’s solo homer and Seth Brown’s two-run shot in the second. He is 0-5 with a 6.50 ERA in nine starts.

Shohei Ohtani’s cartoon-like feats for the Angels have stunned the baseball world, but it’s very similar to the comic book world that influenced him.

The veteran right-hander, slowed by an ankle injury this month, has been awful in his last three starts, giving up 17 earned runs and 18 hits, striking out eight and walking four in 9 2/3 innings for a 15.83 ERA.

Bundy breezed through a one-two-three first before grooving a 2-and-2 fastball to Olson, who homered to right field to lead off the second. Chapman walked, and Brown followed with a two-run homer to right for a 3-0 lead.

Tony Kemp led off the third with a triple to right and scored on Jed Lowrie’s one-out single to right. Olson followed with a single to right, and manager Joe Maddon, looking to stop the bleeding, pulled Bundy in favor of right-hander Aaron Slegers, who escaped the two-on, one-out jam.

The Angels mustered one run and four hits in five innings against A’s left-hander Sean Manaea, scoring in the fourth when Lagares singled and took third on Iglesias’ single to right and scored on Walsh’s fielder’s choice grounder.

Walsh pulled the Angels to within 4-2 in the sixth when he drove a 94-mph fastball from reliever Burch Smith 419 feet to right-center for a two-out solo homer, giving him 10 homers and 32 RBIs on the season.

Right-hander Steve Cishek kept the Angels in the game by retiring seven straight batters — four by strikeout — from the fourth through sixth innings, and Mike Mayers got the last out of the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh.


Matt Thaiss hopes to catch on at his old position

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Matt Thaiss warms up before a baseball game.
Angels third baseman Matt Thaiss warms up before a game against the Colorado Rockies in September 2020.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The professional baseball career of Matt Thaiss, a first-round pick out of Virginia in 2016, has come full-circle.

Thaiss, 26, was drafted as a catcher and moved immediately to first base for his first minor-league season. In parts of two big-league seasons (2019-2020) for the Angels, he has played first base, third base, second base and left field.

But earlier this month, the left-handed-hitting Thaiss, who has been unable to establish a footprint in the major leagues, asked to go back behind the plate, and he has caught seven games for triple-A Salt Lake.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said the move was not necessarily to increase Thaiss’ versatility. Thaiss is looking at this as a possible permanent switch.

Shohei Ohtani’s cartoon-like feats for the Angels have stunned the baseball world, but it’s very similar to the comic book world that influenced him.

“He did really well in college, there were concerns about injuries, and he got away from it,” Maddon said. “This is something he wanted to do. I just talked to Perry [Minasian, Angels general manager] about it yesterday, and the reports are good.

“You can see the naturalness about him when he plays the position, based on the years of reps he’s had in the past. So it’s real. We’ll see where it goes. He can do other things, too, but left-handed-hitting catchers are very interesting.”

Thaiss has hit .202 with a .696 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, nine homers and 24 RBIs in 61 big-league games. He entered Sunday with a .300 average, .947 OPS, one homer and six RBIs in 13 games at Salt Lake.

Thaiss could fit nicely in a platoon with a right-handed-hitting catcher, but Maddon said it’s too early to tell if Thaiss will be ready to catch in the big leagues this season.

“We have to see it,” Maddon said. “The reports say he’s making good progress. Having been a convert [to catching] myself, there’s so much to think about when you engage in this position.

“Good catchers make it look second-nature, which it eventually becomes, but until it does, you’re constantly thinking. You have to digest game plans. All these different things get thrown at you that make it more difficult, so there’s no time frame.”


Angels in no hurry to recall top outfield prospect Jo Adell from triple-A

Angels center fielder Jo Adell throws during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 4.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

The loss of center fielder Mike Trout to a right-calf strain and the team’s overall struggles have prompted Angels fans to question why Jo Adell has not been recalled from triple-A Salt Lake.

The top outfield prospect entered Sunday with a .246 average, .950 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, seven homers, four doubles and 13 RBIs in his first 15 games of the season.

But until Adell shows an ability to make more consistent contact and makes more strides defensively, he will likely remain in the minor leagues. Adell has 26 strikeouts and six walks in 65 at-bats, and in Saturday night’s game at Las Vegas, he got turned around on a fly ball and fell down as it dropped for a double.

Not since the legendary Babe Ruth has a player dominated on the mound and at the plate like the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani.

“I talked to Perry about that specifically,” manager Joe Maddon said, referring to general manager Perry Minasian. “I know [Adell] is making some progress. We still think he has things to work on, so you don’t just want to force somebody into a roll here because you feel there’s a need.

“And I think you could stifle somebody’s development if that player rises too quickly without all the necessary ingredients to make them successful here.”

Adell had only 27 games of triple-A experience when the Angels recalled him from the alternate training site last August. Adell hit .161 with a .478 OPS, three homers, seven RBIs, 55 strikeouts and seven walks in 38 games.

Maddon said over the winter that Adell would benefit from spending more time at triple-A, and though his strikeout rate is still high early in the season, Maddon is seeing better at-bat quality from the right-handed hitter.

Shohei Ohtani’s cartoon-like feats for the Angels have stunned the baseball world, but it’s very similar to the comic book world that influenced him.

“When he hits it, man, it’s properly struck,” Maddon said. “I’ve seen the videos. I like the approach. I think he’s made some good adjustments with smaller moves prior to the pitch. I like the way he’s getting his foot down. There’s a lot of things I’m liking.

“The consistency of hard contact has gotten better. Defense, baserunning, those are the other items he needs to get better at, too. I’m patient with this stuff. I prefer a patient process.”


Justin Upton gets first start in leadoff spot; Shohei Ohtani gets a day off

Angels outfielder Justin Upton hits a home run against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Joe Maddon shook up his lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Oakland Athletics in Angel Stadium, giving Justin Upton his first career start in the leadoff spot and Juan Lagares his first-ever start in the cleanup spot. Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy will oppose A’s left-hander Sean Manaea in the 1 p.m. game.

The Angels (19-27) have lost nine of 12 games to fall 8 ½ games behind the A’s in the American League West.

Upton is in a brutal slump, having hit .086 (3 for 35) with a .437 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, two homers, four RBIs, 15 strikeouts and four walks in his last 12 games, dropping him to .188 with a .661 OPS, eight homers and 17 RBIs on the season.

“I know it’s not traditional, but I’ve done it in the past with slugger types of guys who are struggling,” Maddon said “I did with Tim Salmon, [Anthony] Rizzo, [Evan] Longoria in Tampa Bay.

Not since the legendary Babe Ruth has a player dominated on the mound and at the plate like the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani.

“We’ll see how it plays out. My only advice to him was to try to get on base, set the table, use the middle of the field first and have a good time. Just go out there and play some baseball.

Shohei Ohtani is also not in Sunday’s lineup, Maddon hoping the two-way star who complained of fatigue last week can pair Sunday with Monday’s off day to give his body two days to regenerate.

The fact that the A’s are starting a left-hander also contributed to the decision. The left-handed-hitting Ohtani, who is scheduled to make his next mound start on Friday night at Oakland, will be available to pinch-hit.

“I like to let the schedule dictate these kinds of things,” Maddon said. “If we were facing a right-hander today, he would be starting. But this is going to be a busy week for him. He’s gonna hit all week and pitch and hit on his day [to pitch].”


LF Justin Upton

DH Phil Gosselin

3B Anthony Rendon

CF Juan Lagares

SS Jose Iglesias

1B Jared Walsh

RF Taylor Ward

C Drew Butera

2B David Fletcher

RHP Dylan Bundy


1B Tony Kemp

CF Ramon Laureano

DH Jed Lowrie

1B Matt Olson

3B Matt Chapman

RF Seth Brown

SS Chad Pinder

C Sean Murphy

LF Luis Barrera

LHP Sean Manaea


Pitching problems and fielding miscues add up to another Angels loss

Angels right fielder Jose Rojas fails to catch a fly ball hit by Oakland's Mark Canha.
Angels right fielder Jose Rojas fails to catch a fly ball hit by Oakland’s Mark Canha during the third inning of the Angels’ 6-2 loss Saturday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

If the Angels are to shake their sluggish start and make a playoff push, they’ll have to find a more effective run-prevention formula than the one that has blown up in their faces in the first seven weeks of the season. This combination of worst ERA and most errors in baseball is not going to cut it.

A pair of miscues by infielder-turned-outfielder Jose Rojas in the first three innings Saturday night were costly, and three relievers gave up home runs in a 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics in Angel Stadium. The Angels (19-27) have lost nine of 12 games to fall 8½ games behind the A’s in the American League West.

Patrick Sandoval gave the Angels a chance with five solid innings in which the left-hander gave up two runs and four hits, struck out three and walked two.

Read more >>>


Anthony Rendon ‘just off a click’ since return from knee injury

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon circles the plate during an at-bat against the Texas Rangers.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Anthony Rendon entered Saturday night’s game with only six hits — none for extra bases — and one RBI in 30 at-bats (.200) in nine games since his return from a left-knee contusion, though he was robbed of a homer by Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano on Friday night.

Manager Joe Maddon thinks a hot streak could be right around the corner for Rendon, the former Washington Nationals star who is in the second year of a seven-year, $245-million deal with the Angels.

“Here’s what I see with Anthony — he’ll get injured, he comes back, he has a period where he has good swings, but he’s fouling the ball straight back,” Maddon said. “He’s working good at-bats, and he’s not chasing, which we love.

“All of those foul balls going back will start going the other way, and all of a sudden he might hit .400 for three or four weeks. He’s just a little bit underneath [the ball]. He’s not late. And he’s not hooking stuff. It’s straight back. So he’s just off a click.”


Shohei Ohtani’s next mound start scheduled for next Friday night

Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani winds up to throw against the Cleveland Indians on May 19.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani’s next start on the mound has been tentatively scheduled for Friday night at Oakland, giving the two-way star eight days rest after Wednesday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians, when the velocity of the right-hander’s fastball dropped to an average of 91.3 mph, down from 96.6 mph.

“He’s good,” manager Joe Maddon said on Saturday. “We check in with him every night. Other than the velo on the gun, he hasn’t complained about anything, and he really didn’t complain about that.”

Ohtani has said his body has felt “a little heavy” and a bit sluggish in the past week. The Angels have an off day Monday, but Maddon said he will look to give Ohtani a game off next week “to really start being a little bit more proactive.”


As Max Stassi nears return from concussion, Joe Maddon reflects on treatment of head injuries

Angels catcher Max Stassi tosses a ball back to the mound against the Seattle Mariners on May 1.
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Catcher Max Stassi, who suffered a concussion when he hit his head while tracking down a popup near the visitor’s dugout in a May 6 game against Tampa Bay, has resumed baseball activities and is “feeling a lot better, very optimistic and upbeat,” manager Joe Maddon said before Saturday night’s game.

Stassi’s stay on the seven-day concussion list has extended beyond two weeks, which will likely necessitate a brief minor league rehabilitation stint before returning to the Angels.

But Maddon, 67, is glad that professional sports teams are a lot more cautious with concussions now than when he played football and baseball in high school and college in Pennsylvania.

“We played football with helmets that you look at them now and think, ‘Oh my God, how did your parents let you do that?’ ” Maddon said. “We got our bell rung all the time. You saw those little white dots all over the place, but you never thought anything of it.

“Now it’s being dealt with in a different way because we know a whole lot more. It’s different. Concussions seem to be more prevalent now, though maybe we were all walking around concussed back in the day and didn’t even realize it.”


Closer Raisel Iglesias struggles to find his groove

Angels relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws to the Texas Rangers on April 28.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Raisel Iglesias expressed his distaste for pitching in non-save situations with the Cincinnati Reds in 2019. Though the right-hander has not voiced such concerns with the Angels, his struggles in those games — along with an inconsistent work schedule — have contributed to a lackluster start with his new club.

Iglesias entered in the ninth inning of Friday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics with the Angels trailing 6-4 because he hadn’t pitched in four days and he “needed the work,” manager Joe Maddon said.

Iglesias gave up home runs to Ramon Laureano and Jed Lowrie in an 8-4 loss, boosting his ERA to 5.63 in 17 games entering Saturday night. Iglesias has given up 10 earned runs, 18 hits — five of them homers — in 16 innings, striking out 22 and walking three. He has converted seven of nine save opportunities.

There is no discernable difference in Iglesias’ stuff. His average fastball velocity of 95.7 mph is a tick below last year’s 96.2 mph, but his slider (84.5 mph) and changeup (89.1 mph) are virtually identical to 2020. Maddon said Iglesias, acquired from the Reds last December, has no health issues.

But the closer has been nowhere near as effective as he was in 2020, when he went 4-3 with a 2.74 ERA and eight saves in 22 games, striking out 33 and walking five in 23 innings for the Reds.

With a 19-26 record entering Saturday, there haven’t been as many save opportunities for Iglesias, 31. It hasn’t helped that he has gone six days between appearances twice, five days between appearances twice and entered five games in which the Angels were trailing.

“We had that little run [earlier this month] where he was out there for two or three pertinent games in a row, but we just haven’t had them with any kind of consistency,” Maddon said. “I’ve seen him a lot over the last several years, and I know how good he is, I’ve witnessed it first-hand.

“He’s healthy, his arm feels great. I do believe we’re going to see what we’ve seen in the past. It’s just tough to not pitch with any kind of consistency in meaningful moments because that’s what he’s trained himself to do.”


Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval gets start vs. Athletics

Patrick Sandoval will make his second start of the season Saturday night when the Angels left-hander opposes Oakland Athletics right-hander Chris Bassitt in Angel Stadium.

Sandoval gave up two runs and six hits in four innings, striking out two and walking one in last Monday night’s 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians. He had previously pitched twice in relief this season.

The A’s will counter Sandoval by stacking three potent right-handed hitters at the top of the order in Mark Canha (.250, nine homers, 14 RBIs), Matt Chapman (.217, five homers, 19 RBIs) and Ramon Laureano (.256, 11 homers, 21 RBIs). Laureano went four for four with three runs in Friday night’s 8-4 win over the Angels.

Bassitt has given up two runs in six of his last seven outings, posting a 3.43 ERA over that stretch. In three starts against the Angels last season, Bassitt went 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA.


SS Jose Iglesias

DH Shohei Ohtani

3B Anthony Rendon

1B Jared Walsh

LF Justin Upton

RF Jose Rojas

CF Juan Lagares

C Kurt Suzuki

2B David Fletcher

LHP Patrick Sandoval


LF Mark Canha

3B Matt Chapman

CF Ramon Laureano

1B Matt Olson

DH Chad Pinder

2B Jef Lowrie

RF Stephen Piscotty

SS Elvis Andrus

C Aramis Garcia

RHP Chris Bassitt


Angels’ pitching woes once again prove costly in loss to Athletics

Highlights from the Angels’ 8-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Friday.

This could have been a wonderful story for the home team, in more ways than one.

The young man who started Friday night’s game grew up in Orange County, a graduate of a high school so new that its Wikipedia entry lists one name under “Notable Alumni.”

James Kaprielian is the one, the pride of Beckham High in Irvine, about 10 miles down Interstate 5 from Angel Stadium.

Unfortunately for the Angels, he was the starting pitcher for the Oakland Athletics.

Read more >>>


Joe Maddon: Get off your screen, get to the ballpark

Angels manager Joe Maddon speaks with a player before a game against the Colorado Rockies in September.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Angels manager Joe Maddon cannot wait to welcome full houses back to Angel Stadium, but not just for the home-field advantage.

The pandemic forced fans to experience baseball solely on a screen in 2020, and with limited capacities and social distancing for the first two months of this year.

“We need to get back to our more normal patterns, before we got to different kinds of patterns,” Maddon said. “We’ll never really feel or realize or understand the social component of all of this too, and how important it is to all of our growth.”

The Angels return to full capacity June 17. You can see people in person, not just on a screen.

“Whatever normalcy is going to be, I hope a big part of it is still that we’re a bunch of social animals,” Maddon said. “We get together, and we interact, and not rely on technology so much for that.”


Tickets for full-capacity Angel Stadium on sale next week

With Angel Stadium returning to full capacity next month, the Angels said they would put single-game tickets for the rest of the season on sale next week.

The Angels said they would return to 100% capacity June 17, their first home game after the state reopens June 15. In accordance with CDC guidelines, fans will be required to wear a mask unless they can provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Tickets go on sale next Friday, although fans can register on the team website for a Thursday presale.

Games available include: June 22-23 vs. the San Francisco Giants; July 5-7 vs. the Boston Red Sox; Aug. 27-28 vs. the San Diego Padres; and Aug. 30-Sept. 1 vs. the New York Yankees.


For Angels and Dodgers, full ballparks to come in mid-June

Angel Stadium is expected to be open to full capacity after June 15.
(Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

The 2020 baseball season: two months of cardboard cutouts.

The 2021 season, so far: two months of actual fans, but not too many, standing in lines and sitting in groups six feet apart.

The 2021 season, starting June 15: back to normal.

California will officially remove capacity limits on that date, allowing the state’s five major league teams to play to full ballparks for the first time in two years.

Read more >>>


Betting lines and odds for Angels vs. Athletics on Friday

Oakland Athletics pitcher James Kaprielian delivers against the Boston Red Sox on May 12.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

The Angels will play their ninth game in eight days Friday when they open a three-game series against an Oakland Athletics squad that has struggled against AL West opponents.

José Quintana will look to give the Angels some quality innings. He has not exceeded five innings in any of his seven starts and has a 8.53 ERA while issuing 6.8 walks per nine innings.

The Athletics, 6-1 this season as a road favorite, turn to James Kaprielian. In his first career start on May 12 against the Boston Red Sox, he allowed one run over five innings to get a win.

The Angels own the league’s worst ERA at 5.20. The Athletics have a 3.46 road ERA.

Angels line for May 21, 2021.

Oakland, which has gone 3-7 against AL West opponents, has given up at least four runs in each of their past five games and faces an Angels team that has played 15 of their 22 home games over the total, which is the highest rate for an American League team.

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