MLB

Angelic Drama in Detroit

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In a wild series-clinching sweep of the Detriot Tigers the Angels erase an eight-run deficient to move a game above .500 as they keep fighting for their playoff lives.

Both teams started hot by scoring two runs each in the first two innings. After that Detriot took over the game by scoring eight unanswered runs giving them a 10-2 lead going into the sixth inning.

Going into the sixth inning the offense came alive with Angel’s manufacturing runs with walks, and infield hits. Key contributors to the rally included Shohei Ohtani, Brandon Marsh, Phil Gosselin, and Max Stassi, who had amazing offensive performances.

Brandon Marsh had two triples on the afternoon, two of which were in the sixth inning to jump-start their comeback. Marsh said after the game that this was the biggest comeback he has had in his baseball career. Ohtani had another outstanding performance going 2 for 3 with two runs, two walks, and an RBI that were pivotal to help manufacture the comeback.

Max Stassi hit the go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth to make it the largest comeback in franchise history. The previous franchise record was set in 1986 against the Detriot Tigers. Joe Maddon after the game was pleased with how his team performed after the huge comeback.

“They never let up,” Maddon said. “They never let down.”

What Let Them Down?

The starting pitching again did not help the Angels in this game. Jose Quintana and Aaron Slegers let up all ten runs in the first four and two-thirds of an inning which put the offense in a difficult situation. Jose Quintana started the game and only last an inning and a third giving up six earned runs and only had one strikeout on the afternoon. Slegers came in after and let up the remaining four runs, with one walk and a strikeout.

After that, relievers Andrew Wantz, Mike Mayers, and Austin Warren were able to shut down Detroit’s offense by pitching four and a third innings with a combined five strikeouts and no walks. The starting pitching has been a problem all year for the Angels, however, rookies such as Wantz and Warren could be the start of rookie pitchers stepping up to provide help for the team with their remaining difficult schedule.

Wantz has a 4.05 ERA in his five games with the Angels, and Warren has a 2.08 ERA in his nine games with the Angels. Both of these pitchers are 25 years old which gives them time to learn and improve in the majors by getting opportunities like this.

With the hope of improvement as they get more opportunities, they will not have to rely solely on the offense to stay in games so it is more possible for them to make a playoff push.

Is This a Momentum Swing?

After this sweep, this puts the Angels a game above five hundred and 7.5 games out of the second wild-card spot. The sweep of the Tigers was a momentum swing because before that series the Tigers were 3-7 in their last ten. This sweep brings them back up to five and five in their last ten.

The next six games will be pivotal for the Angels playoff hopes. They have a three-game series with Cleveland Indians, then a three-game series with Baltimore Orioles. To stay competitive they will have to win both series to stay competitive in the playoff hunt.

After that six-game stretch, they have a rough homestand against playoff contenders such as the Padres and Yankees. And after a three-game series against the Rangers, the majority of their games will be against playoff contenders such as the Padres (again), Astros, and White Sox.

According to FanGraphs, the Angels have a 0.3% chance of making the playoffs due to their difficult stretch of games. The teams that they will be playing have an average win percentage of .504. This stretch will be a true challenge for any team, but especially the Angels that are doing everything possible to get into the playoffs.

So, with these upcoming series against the Orioles and Indians, it is crucial to have a winning record against them to give them a chance to stay in the playoff hunt. It can also give them the chance to stay hot and hopefully compete against known playoff contenders they have remaining on their schedule.

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