Angels fire manager Joe Maddon in team-record losing streak

Angels fire manager Joe Maddon in team-record losing streak

A week ago, while speaking to reporters in a tunnel between the visiting dugout and the Yankee Stadium clubhouse, Angels general manager Perry Minasian bristled as he suggested a Major reshuffle was needed for a team that had lost six straight games and was drifting into mediocrity.

“Our goal in two months is to be in the mix, and we are in the mix,” Minasian said. “I’m not one to react to a week-long short sample.”

Two weeks of losses, however, was a large enough sample to trigger a reaction that sent shockwaves through the clubhouse and the sport.

The Angels, mired in a 12-game losing streak that undid their promising start, fired manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday and named third baseman coach Phil Nevin as interim manager for the remainder of the season. Then they went out and lost their 13th straight game, 6-5 to Boston in 10 innings.

“Tough day,” Minasian said in an emotional pre-match press conference. “It’s not something I thought would happen three weeks ago, but I felt it was in the club’s interest to move forward to make a change.”

Minasian, in his second year as general manager, started considering the move a few days ago. The decision, which Minasian said he made without consulting players or coaches, crystallized during his drive to the stadium on Tuesday morning. He called owner Arte Moreno, who approved the move, and drove to Maddon’s Long Beach home to tell him the news.

“It was time for a new voice,” Minasian said. “We haven’t played well the last two weeks. There hasn’t been a single phase of the game where we’ve been good. We’ve struggled on the mound, at home plate, on defense, on bases. One thing I will say is that the effort was great.

The Angels were 24-13 and tied for first place with Houston in the American League West on May 15. They lost 16 of their next 19 games to fall to 27-29 and 8½ games behind the Astros entering Tuesday night.

Mike Trout opened the game with a two-run homer and a double, but he had to be called out in the third inning with “left groin tightness” and the Angels fell to the Red Sox after failing to hold a another late lead, the losing streak. longest tying in franchise history.

The streak featured breakdowns in the rotation and the bullpen, which blew leads in the seventh inning or later six times in 13 games, and a vanishing offense that scored just 12 runs in seven games before Tuesday.

The most devastating blow was Sunday in Philadelphia, when closer Raisel Iglesias gave up a Grand Slam game to Bryce Harper in the eighth inning and Jimmy Herget gave up a three-run homer to No. 9 hitter Bryson Stott in the ninth. . round of a 9-7 defeat.

“We had a really good period in April, mid-May, but the last three weeks to be honest, we haven’t played the brand of baseball that we played at the start,” Minasian said. “I don’t put that on Joe. It’s not his fault. It’s on all of us.

Maddon, in the final year of a three-year, $12 million contract that included a $4 million option for next year, was surprised but barely crushed by Tuesday’s news.

“I’m doing great,” Maddon said. “I mean it sincerely. Don’t feel bad for me. I’m doing well. I went for a bike ride today. I play golf [Wednesday] morning at 9:15 a.m. I believe there are greater opportunities on the horizon.

Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon speaks to the media before a baseball game

Joe Maddon preached patience during the Angels’ losing streak.

(Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

The Angels went seven years without reaching the playoffs, but expectations were higher for this year after bolstering their rotation with Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen and bolstering their bullpen by retaining Iglesias and adding veterans Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera and Archie Bradley.

Six weeks into the season, Angels fan hopes have skyrocketed. The rotation looked good, with young southpaw Reid Detmers even throwing a no-hitter, and the relief work was tough, for the most part.

Trout returned from a calf injury and returned to the form that made him a three-time AL most valuable player, hitting .328 with 1.129 on-base plus slugging percentage, 12 home runs and 26 RBIs. in his first 39 games. Right fielder Taylor Ward looked like a Triple Crown threat, batting .375 with 1.209 OPS, nine home runs and 23 RBIs in his first 29 games. Third baseman Anthony Rendon returned from hip surgery and delivered several hits.

But Ward hit a face-down wall on May 15, suffering a neck and shoulder injury, and hasn’t been the same hitter since. Rendon suffered a right wrist injury and was placed on the injured reserve on May 28.

Trout went into a tailspin, hitting a career-high 26 at-bats without a hit. Shohei Ohtani was unable to duplicate his 2021 MVP season, batting .242 with a .771 OPS, 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.

“A few guys got injured, we lost a few games late and there was a compounding effect,” Maddon said. “We didn’t hit, and we faced a ton of great pitchers on a tough road trip.

“It’s a baseball moment, a game of 162 that you have to fight. But you don’t give up on them. I would never give up on my guys, and they would never give up on me.

These guys felt like they let Maddon down.

“Joe is the blame, but that falls on the players – we are the ones playing the game,” Bradley said. “We don’t lose 12 in a row, Joe Maddon doesn’t get fired. I take it personally. I take it as a wake-up call, and I think this team too. We have to right the ship’s man.

They’ll try to do that with a new captain in Nevin, former Placentia El Dorado High School and Cal State Fullerton star. Nevin, 51, played 12 years in the major leagues before spending seven years as a minor league manager and five years as a third base coach for the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees before moving on. join the Angels.

“What Nev brings to the table – a different voice, a different style – will help the room, help us get a boost and help us win games,” Minasian said before the game. “We’re on a 12-game losing streak, but we’re 1½ games away from a playoff spot. As mediocre as we have played over the past two weeks, there is an opportunity right in front of us.

While grateful to have had the opportunity to manage in the big leagues for the first time, Nevin admitted the promotion was bittersweet.

“I wanted this opportunity, but that’s not how I envisioned it,” Nevin said. “I imagined it would be a happy day speaking to the players, the media, the staff… but it’s under different circumstances, and I don’t feel the same emotions. I’m delighted, absolutely, and the conversation that I had with [Maddon] put me at ease. He said to take this opportunity and run with it, and be the person that I am, which I intend to do.

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