Major injury, back-to-back crushing defeats dampen Angels already slim playoff hopes

The Angels have suffered three brutal losses in two days
Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels are in trouble. They already had an uphill battle when it came to fighting for a playoff spot, but their lives have become that much harder in just a couple of days.

The Angels opened a crucial four-game series at home on Thursday against the Mariners, a team the Angels had played well against this season, and they've taken two crushing losses.

Not only did they lose those games, but now Zach Neto has landed on the IL with his back injury failing to improve. The Angels will attempt an even steeper comeback without their sparkplug rookie shortstop.

LA Angels suffer three brutal losses in two days

The opener of this series saw Shohei Ohtani have another start on the mound cut short, this time due to hand discomfort. Ohtani will hopefully make his next start, but that's unclear at this point. Despite Ohtani's start being cut short, he did hit his 40th home run of the year to give the Angels a 3-1 lead in the eighth. Carlos Estevez proceeded to lose the strike zone in the ninth and give up a go-ahead Grand Slam to blow his first save of the year and give Seattle a lead they would not relinquish.

Thursday's loss was one of the worst losses of the season for this Angels team, and that effect seemed to show on the players. They were down 4-0 against the Mariners before they even went up to bat with Luis Castillo, one of the best pitchers in the American League, looming on the other side.

Despite those odds stacked against them, the Angels fought back. Luis Rengifo hit a leadoff home run and Mike Moustakas wound up tying the game at five in the third inning.

Seattle took the lead once again in the fourth, and the Angels had another response an inning later with Mickey Moniak hitting a home run. The Angels continued to show fight all night, but failed to take a lead. Seattle took the lead in the eighth, tacked on a run in the ninth, and despite threatening, the Angels failed to score in the bottom half to take yet another crushing loss.

The Angels are without Zach Neto now for what feels like a while, and have now lost four in a row to fall to 56-55 on the season. The Halos now trail by 8.5 games in the AL West and by five games in the Wild Card picture. Not only are they five back of a playoff spot but the team they're chasing (Toronto) has the tiebreaker so they're really six back, and they also have to jump four teams to get there.

The Angels now have a 5.3% chance at a playoff spot according to FanGraphs thanks in large part to this losing streak and the fact that their schedule does not get easier. Not great for a team that went all in.