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OC Register: Angels’ road trip offers youngsters a taste of playoff chaos

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The Angels’ five-city, 10-game road trip might be as close as the Angels come to experiencing the grind of the postseason in 2021.

That’s how Manager Joe Maddon looks at it, at least. Monday’s loss to the Yankees ― one of the three teams separating them from the second American League wild card berth ― left them 9 ½ games out of playoff position with 42 games left in the regular season. Their odds of reaching the playoffs are less than 0.1 percent, according to Baseball Reference.

The Angels’ young core is getting somewhat of a playoff preview by playing games in New York, Detroit, Cleveland, Williamsport and Baltimore before they fly home next Thursday.

“When you get more active in a playoff situation, this kind of stuff happens,” Maddon said. “The schedule becomes hectic. It’s good to become used to hectic scheduling, different start times, playing when you’re not necessarily feeling 100 percent and still playing. These are the little things that can help you grow a little bit. That’s how I’m thinking through this thing. I want more of this. I want more of these uncomfortable, inconvenient moments that occur when you get in the playoffs.”


After batting no higher than fifth in his last three starts, left fielder Justin Upton batted third against the Yankees. He responded well to the promotion, hitting a home run against Gerrit Cole in his first at-bat.

It was Upton’s third home run on the road this season, and his first in any park since July 28. He is batting .297 (22-for-74) with five home runs in 21 career games against the Yankees.

“Upton is one of the few guys who’s had success against Cole and I liked his at-bats (Sunday),” Maddon said. “He was not expanding the strike zone, and he was seeing pitches well.”

Maddon said that Upton will continue to alternate with Juan Lagares in the Angels’ outfield rotation, with rookies Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh continuing to gain experience in Mike Trout’s absence.


The only player in the clubhouse to have participated in a postseason series with the Angels is Trout. He’s with the team on this road trip while he continues to work back from a nagging calf injury.

The 30-year-old outfielder still hasn’t been cleared to resume baseball activities since the last time he joined the team on a road trip, July in Minnesota. Asked if he’ll return before the season ends, Maddon said, “I want to believe so.”


The Angels announced their starting rotation for the three-game series in Detroit. Dylan Bundy will oppose Casey Mize on Tuesday. Shohei Ohtani will oppose Tarik Skubal on Wednesday. And Patrick Sandoval will oppose Matt Manning on Thursday.


Angels RHP Dylan Bundy (2-9, 6.17 ERA) at Detroit (RHP Casey Mize, 6-6, 3.66 ERA), 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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