Well that was demoralizing. After an outstanding 5-2 road trip which included series wins in Texas and Kansas City, the Angels returned home for a brief two-game series against the struggling Dodgers in front of capacity crowds at Angel Stadium.
With the Angels playing their best baseball of the season, victors in 11 of their previous 14 games heading into this series, it felt like this was the time for them to make a statement against a Dodgers team that had owned them in recent years.
The Dodgers were having struggles of their own after being swept by the Giants and were as beatable as they had been in years. Unfortunately, the Angels failed to score a single run and got swept in embarrassing fashion in their ballpark against those same Dodgers. I think it's fair to say that the mountain of injuries absolutely played a role.
Injuries were very prevalent in LA Angels embarrassing sweep against the Dodgers but that shouldn't be an excuse
A big reason the Angels entered this series at 41-33 and in sole possession of the second Wild Card spot in the AL was because of their depth. They had an incredibly deep lineup with players that can hurt you one through nine. Zach Neto was hitting ninth virtually every day, and he has a 114 WRC+ on the season. So yeah, when healthy, this lineup is good.
Unfortunately, the injuries to Neto, Anthony Rendon, and Gio Urshela have completely hampered their depth. What was once a deep lineup became a top-heavy one which proved to be no problem for this Dodgers pitching staff.
The tops of both lineups were very solid. In the opener, the Angels had Taylor Ward, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Brandon Drury and Hunter Renfroe in the top five. In the second game, they had Mickey Moniak, Ohtani, Trout, Drury, and Ward in their top five. That alone should get you something.
Unfortunately, these players combined to record just four hits in their 37 at-bats this series. The rest of the hitters who played that everyone complains about had five hits.
In the first game the Angels had limited chances, but a base running blunder and a blown opportunity with second and third nobody out with Clayton Kershaw on the ropes did them in. Getting shut out by Clayton Kershaw was frustrating, but sometimes great pitchers get you. Kershaw being the first-ballot Hall of Famer that he is, did what he always does against the Angels.
The second game is what really irks me. The Dodgers have the second worst bullpen ERA in all of baseball at 4.88, and that's after what happened last night. In a bullpen game, the Angels were shut out once again, limited to just two hits.
Luis Rengifo was the only Angel to record a hit. He had both of them. Even on his good day Rengifo found a way to be frustrating as he was the latest Angel to be thrown out at the plate.
I get that having guys like Andrew Velazquez, Luis Rengifo, Kevin Padlo, and Chad Wallach in your lineup is not ideal, but the stars have to be stars. Both Shohei Ohtani and MIke Trout were hitless in seven at-bats. Taylor Ward also hitless in seven at-bats. It is going to be very hard for this team to win when that happens, especially with a short lineup.
The Angels threw away dominant outings from Ohtani and Reid Detmers. They didn't even need to do anything crazy offensively, just find a way to score three runs and you win one game.
Fortunately, the Angels now head to Coors Field, a hitters paradise, and that's where the bats will hopefully wake back up.