Angels-Mariners takeaways: Seattle sweep imperils Angels’ playoff push

Angels star Shohei Ohtani reacts after hitting a foul ball
Angels star Shohei Ohtani reacts after hitting a foul ball during the third inning of a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday at Angel Stadium. The Angels have lost six consecutive games.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)
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In the wake of being swept by the Seattle Mariners amid a six-game losing streak, the Angels continue to raise questions about whether they’re capable of making the postseason.

Chief among them: Can they win their upcoming series with the San Francisco Giants and make up ground in the standings with key division matchups against the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers looming?

After their 3-2 loss to the Mariners in 10 innings Sunday, the Angels are 56-57. They are 7 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the final American League wild-card spot and 10½ games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers.


The Angels remained confident they still have time to win games and challenge for a playoff spot.

The Angels entered Saturday’s game on a four-game losing streak after their starting pitchers failed to get through five innings in the last three games.

Aug. 5, 2023

“I know everyone’s now done with us, counted us out,” manager Phil Nevin said after Sunday’s loss. “That’s fine. I got 26 guys in there, plus staff that know we haven’t. They know we’re still there.”

Added Mickey Moniak: “We focus on San Francisco. I think it’s all we can do. Like I’ve said a million times, we know what we have in here, and it’s gonna take all of us and just try to look to get back on track tomorrow.”

Here are three takeaways from the Angels’ series with the Mariners:

About those runs

Unlike their last road series, the Angels didn’t have a problem with runners in scoring position against Seattle. Their offense simply fell flat when it was needed the most.

The Angels don’t have to put up insane run totals, like they did against the Colorado Rockies during a 25-1 blowout in June, to win. And the Angels have shown throughout the season they are capable of overcoming one- or two-run deficits.


On Friday, the Angels came back from deficits of four and two runs but still lost. On Saturday, they were 90 feet away from tying the game in the ninth. On Sunday, the Angels had chances to score more than two runs throughout the game, though blown calls on pitches outside the strike zone, particularly in the 10th inning, didn’t help.

No ‘I’ in team

Angels' Luis Rengifo dives back to first base during a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

One of the Angels’ biggest strengths has been their camaraderie.

“I think it’s everything,” Moniak said. “Going through a tough stretch like this, you gotta stick together. No one’s having fun right now, that’s for sure. But we show up to the yard every day ready to put in the work and ready to put our best effort forward [at game time], and that’s what we just try to do every day.”

Added Chad Wallach: “It’s a pretty close-knit group of guys, and it’s helped get us through those tough situations.”

It’s one thing to lose a game. It’s another to lose a game and lose faith in one another.

What odds?

The Angels entered Sunday with just a 3.7% chance at making the playoffs, according to Fangraphs. Baseball Reference gave them a 3.4% chance at making the postseason before Sunday.

Although these numbers are mostly arbitrary, the odds are not in their favor after their recent losses.


Shohei Ohtani believes the Angels need him too much to take days off. The Angels don’t disagree and are trusting him to manage his fatigue.

Aug. 4, 2023

Still, as Nevin pointed out Saturday, anything can happen.

“We’ve seen a lot of messed up baseball stuff happen in the last 50 games in the season, the last 30, if you will,” Nevin said.

The potential for “messed up baseball stuff” going in the Angels’ favor is one thing. The team also needs to help itself.