Joe Maddon got very creative with his use of two-way player Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday night.
Ohtani started for the Los Angeles Angels against the Houston Astros and pitched seven innings. He allowed just four hits, one walk and one run while striking out 10. The Angels trailed 1-0 when he was lifted as a pitcher, though they tied the game with a home run in the top of the eighth.
Ohtani was due up second in the top of the ninth and Maddon did not want to lose the slugger’s valuable bat. So Maddon placed Ohtani in right field for the eighth inning, which would allow Shohei to remain in the game.
The Angels’ bullpen ended up blowing the game by allowing four runs to make it 5-1. Ohtani struck out looking in the ninth as the Angels went 1-2-3 to lose the game 5-1.
The bullpen blowing the game is what hurt the Angels. But Ohtani did his best on the mound and in the box to keep them in it. And credit Maddon for thinking creatively to keep one of his best bats in the lineup.
The 41-year-old also told Angels executives he was not going to retire and that he was not going to spend the rest of the season on the bench.
Pujols may have been upset about the benching, but he might be even more upset to learn that there is very little demand for his services around MLB. Even Tony La Russa doesn’t have room for him.
It’s easy to understand where Pujols’ anger is coming from. Any competitor would be upset about a benching. And any player, much less a future Hall of Famer, would struggle with the end of his career nearing.
The end of a career for a Hall of Famer is often ugly, and it’s often full of problems. That is what we are seeing with Pujols’ situation.
Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays was an absolute disaster for the Los Angeles Angels. And there was a moment of embarrassment for Joe Maddon beyond the score.
Maddon’s Angels got beat up pretty badly by the Jays. They surrendered seven runs in the second, three more in the third, and four more in the fourth to fall behind 14-1.
With the score at 7-0 in the top of the third, Maddon was upset after a challenge did not go his Angels’ way. Maddon ended up complaining about the call and got tossed. But the humorous part of the story is Maddon’s exit.
The Jays are playing their “home” games at their minor league facility in Dunedin, Fla. because of travel restrictions into and out of Canada. TD Ballpark doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a major league park, which feature clubhouses connected to the dugout, underneath/behind the seats.
Typically a manager would just walk back into the dugout and down the tunnel into the clubhouse after an ejection. But for Maddon, he had to walk down the third base line before he could exit the field for the visiting tent.
Hilarious detail to the Joe Maddon ejection — at the Dunedin park there’s no clubhouse, so he had to take this long walk of shame all the way down to a walkway exit beyond the dugout. He took his sweet time lol pic.twitter.com/vrzF9q8DFF
St. Louis signed the 34-year-old to a 5-year, $82.5 million deal prior to the 2017 season. They got good production from him in 2017 and decent production in 2019, but he didn’t add much in 2018 or the shortened 2020 season.
Fowler made the All-Star team in 2016, the year the Cubs won the World Series. He hasn’t hit over .238 in his last three seasons, though he did have 19 home runs in 2019.
Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon appears interested in running it back with a member of his 2016 World Series-winning Chicago Cubs.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Wednesday that the Angels are interested in trading for Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. Rosenthal adds that Maddon was a strong advocate for Contreras during their time together in Chicago, which spanned four seasons.
Contreras, 28, is under contract for two more seasons with the Cubs. He is known as more of an offense-first catcher but has improved his defense in recent seasons. Meanwhile, the Angels’ current catching unit is led by Max Stassi, who could miss the start of the 2021 campaign after undergoing surgery on his left hip.
Trout was concerned and wondered if Anderson was throwing at him intentionally. He ended up walking in the at-bat, later advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout.
After the game, Angels manager Joe Maddon said that Anderson was wild because of inexperience and that there was no malicious intent behind the pitches.
“That’s just a young man that’s not ready to be here, that’s all that is. There’s nothing malicious about it,” Maddon said, via Rhett Bollinger. “It could even have been that he was intimidated by Mike being in the batter’s box.”
Giants manager Gabe Kapler also said it was unintentional and that Anderson was rusty from not pitching in five days.
Normally, a 3-6 start wouldn’t be the end of the world, but in a shortened season the reality is they need to get things turned around very quickly. Saturday’s comeback win over the Houston Astros could be a catalyst. It also helps that Maddon, ever the optimist, isn’t going to give up on his team publicly or privately at this point of the year either.
One of the big keys for the Angels will be getting Shohei Ohtani right on the mound after his poor start to 2020. If they can do even that much, they still have a chance to turn things around, but it has to happen fairly quickly.
The temptation around the league to drill the Houston Astros is sky-high, but Joe Maddon would prefer for his players to avoid doing so.
Addressing the media Tuesday, the Los Angeles Angels manager indicated that he is discouraging the team’s pitchers from plunking Astros batters ahead of their upcoming series against Houston, which begins on Saturday.
“We’ve talked about playing baseball, straight up,” said Maddon, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. “That’s what I’m anticipating. That’s all I’m looking for. What happened yesterday [with the LA Dodgers], if you were immediately impacted by [the sign stealing], I could get it a little bit. But then you saw the commissioner’s response, regarding what happened. So you got to choose the method you want to incorporate, and I would prefer that we just go play baseball.”
The Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is back in the news after the Dodgers and pitcher Joe Kelly reignited the flames during their interleague series. The Dodgers had lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros, and the Angels also lost their division to Houston that year, a time when the Astros were confirmed to have been cheating.
The league came down hard on Kelly however, and in a 60-game season where any suspension could hurt their chances of taking the division back from Houston, Maddon is wise to tell his guys to just play ball.
Joe Maddon won a World Series with the Chicago Cubs, but the former manager endured a rocky end to his tenure that left some feeling sour.
Many felt that Maddon’s teams in 2018 and 2019 underperformed relative to the talent they had. Maddon, however, didn’t voice any regrets about his time in Chicago except for one — and it relates to his restaurant.
Joe Maddon was asked if he would have done anything differently looking back on his time in Chicago. “I would put Maddon’s Post downtown. That’s my biggest regret, that we chose to put it where we did. I think that restaurant in the proper setting would have killed it.”
Joe Maddon may have to get a little creative to start his first season as manager of the Los Angeles Angels.
Speaking with reporters this weekend on the eve of the team’s first full-squad workout, Maddon hinted at some tinkering of their lineup, perhaps featuring Tommy La Stella at second base and David Fletcher in the outfield.
“Obviously you want to get Tommy out there as often as you can against righties,” said Maddon, per Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register. “The challenge is I like Fletcher on the field as much possible. The fact that David is versatile to play different positions is going to matter … [Fletcher] could grab some games in the outfield too.”
Maddon’s remarks come just days after the Angels’ failed trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers that would have netted them outfielder Joc Pederson (and pitcher Ross Stripling). The proposed deal would have cleared up a bit of the team’s infield logjam by sending out Luis Rengifo as well.
The Angels signed All-Star Anthony Rendon this offseason, locking him in as their everyday third baseman. With Justin Upton and Mike Trout also firmly entrenched in left and center field respectively, having Fletcher split time in right with Brian Goodwin and sticking La Stella at second is the solution that seems to make the most sense.