Step 3: Play Situational Baseball in the Late Innings
When it comes to the part of the game where the starters have thrown their final pitch, the Angels need to capitalize on each and every situation that they can. This entails a lot of things, and will require everybody to play smart and hard, but the Angels are capable.
On the pitching side, this means Brad Ausmus choosing the right relievers for the right situations. He has done a good job of this so far into the year, and needs to make sure that continues into this week. For the relievers, it means trusting their pitches and carrying the game until it’s time to hand it off to the next reliever.
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While the pitching needs to play conservative baseball and induce ground balls rather than going for strikeouts and making mistake pitches, on offense, the mindset needs to be the complete opposite for Mike Trout and his supporting cast.
The harsh reality is that the Angels won’t have many scoring opportunities once the Brewers hand the game over to their bullpen. Their lineup has been mostly ineffective this year, and the Brewers bullpen has decimated opponents. That being said, when they have an opportunity, they need to risk it.
Runner on first with two outs in the inning? Call a hit and run. That at least gives the Angels the possibility of scoring, rather than watching either the current batter or next batter fail to keep the inning alive.
Hit and runs, stealing bases, suicide squeezes, all things that need to be utilized by the Angels in this series if they want to come away with a win or two. Obviously the Brewers, who were one game away from representing the NL in the World Series last year, are the superior team in terms of talent. However, they play the games for a reason, and with 54 outs in a game, anything can happen.