The first road trip for the Angels and manager Joe Maddon has proved to be a test as to whether the team can recover their strong vibes at the start of the season. The Halos have already gotten off to a hot start to their 2021 campaign going 6-2 before Saturday. No they’ve ran into significant trouble that could ruin the team if they can’t get past it.
Angels manager Joe Maddon will need to rally his team after a tough loss.
Calls had seemed to be going against the Angels all night, not just from behind the plate, but from a controversial slide in which base Blue Jays baserunner runner Jonathon Davis went hard into shortstop Jose Iglesias and he appeared to be deviating from his initial slide.
Unfortunately, the umpires didn’t see it that way and ruled that the runners on second and first were both safe which clearly raises the rule in question about sliding to break up a double play.
"When speaking with the media, manager Joe Maddon stated, “I still think that’s a good play. The fact that I can even dispute it, I’ve never liked that.”"
Clearly with Maddon’s traditional mindset he seems to not mind how Davis went toward second base, nonetheless, the play still could have cost the team their shortstop in Jose Iglesias. On the controversial call, Iglesias was not upset either.
"“I think he was able to reach the bag, so I would say it was a legal slide,” Iglesias said. “But it definitely affected my throw.”"
The rough night didn’t stop there, Angels outfielder Dexter Fowler suffered a season-ending injury in which he collided with Blue Jays second basemen Marcus Semien.
It was announced on Sunday that Fowler tore his ACL and would require season ending surgery. Fowler spoke to the media in which he sounded rather positive about this unfortunate outcome.
"“I just want to tell everybody that the comeback season has commenced, Fowler said. “At the end of the day, these are the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ve got to deal with them and go at it like that.”"
While Fowler’s offensive stats could be replaced considering he only posted a .250 batting average, .286 on-base percentage, and .536 on-base plus slugging. His energy and role of keeping the clubhouse loose will surely be missed which was one of the reasons why the Angels traded for him, and it showed as the Halos definitely seemed looser to start the season.
Now the pressure to get the team back on track is up to Maddon as he attempts to let the past go and get ready for the rest of their road trip. The Angels have the outfield depth to survive the fall of Fowler, but replacing what he meant in terms of intangibles is nearly impossible and that is something Maddon will try to do on his own.
Making sure the club is loose and keeping the momentum is definitely hard for any team especially for one with a hot start like the Angels are having. It makes it even more demoralizing when you lose a key player in that role and having calls not go your way the entire night.
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This road trip could be seen as a good test for the team to see if they are a legitimate team that poses a threat to the rest of the American League or a fluke season. Either way, Maddon has some work to do figuring out who’s going to get the start to replace Fowler as he has options in Juan Lagares, Jose Rojas, and Jared Walsh.
He also needs to make sure the clubhouse keeps an upbeat tempo as they were to the start of the season, otherwise, this could prove to a long road trip.