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OC Register: Joe Maddon doesn’t want Angels pitchers taking aim at the Astros

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ANAHEIM — The Astros are coming to Angel Stadium this weekend for their first games against the Angels since news of their sign-stealing scandal broke last year.

Despite the pandemic and the lack of fans to boo the Astros, major-league players clearly haven’t forgotten, a point made obvious when Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly incited a bench-clearing incident by throwing behind Alex Bregman on Tuesday.

Angels Manager Joe Maddon said he’s aware some Angels pitchers might have hard feelings, but he’s encouraged them to think carefully about how they react.

“We’ve talked about playing baseball, straight up,” Maddon said Wednesday. “That’s what I’m anticipating. That’s all I’m looking for. What happened yesterday, 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.”

Kelly was suspended for eight games, which is more than 10% of the 60-game season. Kelly has appealed the suspension.

The Angels are lined up to have Matt Andriese, Griffin Canning and Shohei Ohtani start the three games against the Astros.

BIG IMPROVEMENT

Max Stassi has three hits already this season, which is the same as he had in 42 at-bats with the Angels after he was acquired in a July 31 trade last year.

Stassi, who hit a three-run homer Tuesday, said he retooled his swing over the winter to simplify it, a decision that was easy as as looking up at the scoreboard and seeing his batting average.

“I mean, last year was terrible offensively,” Stassi said. “I mean, there’s no other way to put it. I battled a few things physically. That kind of turned into mentally and then my swing mechanically was off.”

Stassi, who also had hip surgery after the season, reworked his swing with hitting coaches Jeremy Reed and John Mallee. Maddon said now he doesn’t see a hitter who looks like he had a .167 average in 2019.

“Well, it’s completely different than what he’s used to because he’s closed, he’s short and direct to the ball, they’ve gotten rid of him laying the bat down, now he’s more direct, the barrel is staying up above his hands, and wow,” Maddon said. “The other day, he fouled off a ball straight back at Oakland and it was an A-hack. He’s taken nothing but A-hacks. All I know is what I’m seeing right now, I like a lot.”

McNAMARA DIES

John McNamara, who managed the Angels and was better known for managing the Boston Red Sox during the 1986 World Series, died Tuesday, his family told the Associated Press. McNamara was 88. The cause of death was not known.

McNamara managed the Angels in 1983-84, his fourth of six managerial jobs. The Angels were 161-191 in his two years.

He also managed the Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds prior to taking over the Angels. After the Angels, he managed the Red Sox and Cleveland Indians.

He is best known for being the Red Sox manager when they lost the 1986 World Series, despite having a lead in the ninth inning of Game 6 with a chance to clinch. That was the game in which Bill Buckner famously made an error that allowed the New York Mets to score the winning run.

SANDOVAL DOWN

The Angels optioned Patrick Sandoval to their reserve squad in Long Beach a day after he pitched four innings in a victory over the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels have an off day Monday, so they can skip Sandoval’s spot in the rotation. Also, Julio Teheran could be ready to rejoin the rotation as soon as next Tuesday, which would knock Sandoval down to No. 7 on the depth chart.

Reliever Luke Bard was recalled to take Sandoval’s roster spot.

TEXAS TIME

The Angels-Astros game starts at 6:10 p.m. Friday because of an MLB guideline for 2020 designed to help with the TV audiences in the American League West, which is the only division that has teams two time zones apart.

When Texas teams play on the West Coast, the games start at least an hour earlier than normal, and when West Coast teams play in Texas, the night games start an hour later than they normally would. The idea is to make it easier for the road team’s fans to watch the games in prime time.

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25 minutes ago, eligrba said:

It will be difficult to prove that an Angel relief pitcher deliberately hit an Astro player.  I wish they had that level of accuracy.;

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1 hour ago, eligrba said:

It will be difficult to prove that an Angel relief pitcher deliberately hit an Astro player.  I wish they had that level of accuracy.;

Maybe our bullpen has been strategically bad just to lay the groundwork and alibi’s for our Asstro’s series?

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I feel like Sosh would have the same opinion on this as well. Personally, I’d love for Asstros batters to bat in fear of getting pegged, but losing a player for 8+ games is not worth owning the libs Asstros

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6 hours ago, sosh said:

I feel like Sosh would have the same opinion on this as well. Personally, I’d love for Asstros batters to bat in fear of getting pegged, but losing a player for 8+ games is not worth owning the libs Asstros

I dunno. after watching last night's bullpen mess, I'd be in favor of 3 or 4 of our relievers taking. a shot at any of the Astros. losing several of them for 8 games each might work in our favor.

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