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  1. LOS ANGELES — Jay Johnstone, who won World Series championships as a versatile outfielder with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers while being baseball’s merry prankster, has died. He was 74. Johnstone, who grew up in West Covina, died Saturday, Sept. 26 of complications from COVID-19 and also had suffered from dementia in recent years, according to his daughter Mary Jayne Sarah Johnstone. He died at a nursing home in Granada Hills, she said Monday. “COVID was the one thing he couldn’t fight,” his daughter said by phone. “It’s really kind of shocking.” Besides the Yankees and Dodge
  2. The Angels next general manager will likely have a busy offseason. Billy Eppler was fired on Sunday, following five straight losing seasons that no doubt frustrated owner Arte Moreno as well as the fans. Mike Trout is certainly frustrated, as he said on Saturday that the time is now for the Angels to do what it takes to get to the postseason. They haven’t been there since 2014, the only postseason appearance in Trout’s nine full seasons. The Angels current roster has some clear holes, and some more subtle ones. It starts, of course, with pitching, both in the rotation and in the bullpen. Th
  3. Baseball made it. The sport reached the end of its regular season Sunday, including the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory over the Angels to sweep the Pandemic Freeway Series, and before you stifle a yawn think back to the first couple of weeks of the 60-day sprint and the COVID outbreaks that threatened to derail not only individual teams’ schedules but the whole production. Getting to Sept. 27 was no certainty. But by the end of the day Sunday, 900 games had been scheduled and 898 of them had been played. The only outliers were two games between the Cardinals and Tigers, part of a stretch of 17 Cardinal
  4. LOS ANGELES – AJ Pollock hit a home run in the Dodgers’ first at-bat against the Angels on Sunday. Patrick Sandoval, the Angels’ starting pitcher, limped off the field in the third inning with a strained calf muscle. Immediately after the game, general manager Billy Eppler was fired. Yes, the 60th and final regular-season game for both teams reflected the first 59 quite well. The Dodgers beat the Angels 5-0 at Dodger Stadium, capping a 43-17 season that set a new franchise record for winning percentage (.717). Pollock homered again in the seventh inning and finished 3 for 3 with three runs
  5. LOS ANGELES – Walker Buehler will start Game 1 of the National League wild card series Wednesday for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw will start Game 2. By handing the opening assignment to Buehler, Manager Dave Roberts resolved the most immediate question about the Dodgers’ postseason plans Sunday. Buehler missed three starts down the stretch with a blister on his right index finger. He returned Wednesday to pitch four shutout innings against the A’s, and afterward declared himself fit for the postseason. Both Buehler and Kershaw have maintained a posture of ambivalence over who starts when. In
  6. The Angels announced that Billy Eppler will not return as their general manager after five seasons that did not include a winning record. Here are the five best and five worst moves Eppler made in his tenure with the Angels. BEST 1) Mike Trout’s extension. Prior to the March 2019 deal when the Angels signed Trout to a 12-year contract, the question of Trout’s long-term future had been hanging over the franchise. Trout had two years to go before free agency, and if a deal didn’t get done then, Trout was likely to be gone at the end of his contract, if not traded before. Trout said one of th
  7. Billy Eppler will not return as Angels general manager after five years that didn’t include a playoff appearance or even a winning record, the club announced. The Angels decided not to bring Eppler back for the final year of his contract, which included a one-year extension the team had granted him over the summer without announcing it, according to a source. “The Angels Organization would like to thank Billy for his dedication and work ethic over the last five years. We wish him and his family all the best,” club president John Carpino said in a statement. Carpino and owner Arte Moreno are
  8. For Shohei Ohtani, like so many others in the world, 2020 has not been anywhere close to what he expected. Ohtani and the Angels and their fans and all of baseball, really, had hoped to see a healthy Ohtani reprise his role as a successful two-way player in the majors, picking up where he left off in 2018. Instead, he was barely a one-way player. Ohtani pitched parts of three innings before a forearm strain ended his season as a pitcher. The injury was not considered serious, but it was still too much to overcome in a season this short. And at the plate, Ohtani was hitting .188 with a .662
  9. After Elliot Soto’s 10-year minor league odyssey culminated with his first two big league hits, he was asked what made him stick it out so long. “I don’t know,” the Angels’ 31-year-old rookie said on Saturday night. “I never wanted to give up. I’m a cucaracha. I’m a cockroach. Never die.” Although the Angels lost 7-6 to the Dodgers in a meaningless game, Soto and Jahmai Jones provided the happy storyline at the end of a mostly disappointing season. The two infielders had become close since the first spring training back in Arizona and the bond grew as they worked out together at the Angels’
  10. The Angels are again preparing to pack their bags before an October of watching other teams in the postseason, followed by a winter of trying to do what it takes to join them. For Mike Trout, who has continued to build a Hall of Fame career while being notably absent from the playoffs, it is beyond frustrating. “The biggest thing is getting to the playoffs,” Trout said Saturday. “You guys see it. I see it. It sucks, being out of it. It’s time. We got to get to the playoffs.” The Angels came up painfully short in this coronavirus-shortened season, digging themselves too deep a hole over the
  11. Check out these photographs from Dodgers’ 9-5 victory over the Angels on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht/SCNG) The Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez #14 throws to first base for a double play as the Angels’ Jared Walsh #25 slides into second base in the top of the first inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG) Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney #28 looks down as the Dodgers’ Justin Turner #10 rounds the bases after Turner hit a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning during their MLB game a
  12. LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers and Angels are separated geographically by a long morning’s commute, but they’ve been playing on different levels all season. Friday’s game between the interleague rivals was no different. The Dodgers clubbed five home runs, including two by Justin Turner, in a 9-5 win that eliminated the Angels from postseason contention. At 41-17, the Dodgers are assured of finishing the season with baseball’s best record and the highest regular season winning percentage in club history. AJ Pollock, Will Smith and Edwin Rios also hit home runs for the Dodgers. Smith’s two-run sho
  13. The Angels took a bumpy, wild ride to end up in a painfully familiar place. The Angels’ 9-5 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night at Dodger Stadium eliminated them from contention for the postseason, once again barely missing the October party. The Angels (26-32) ended up as the last team in the American League knocked out of postseason contention for the fourth time in Mike Trout’s tenure. They were also the “bubble team” in 2012, 2015 and 2017. They led 3-1 in the third — on Trout’s first homer against Clayton Kershaw — and 5-3 in the fifth, before the Dodgers came back. Matt Andriese gave
  14. Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway was encouraged by what he saw at the end of the season from two of the younger potential starters, Jaime Barria and Patrick Sandoval. Barria, 24, had a 3.62 ERA in 32-1/3 innings this season, rebounding to more of what he showed when he posted a 3.41 ERA as a rookie in 2018. Barria struggled in 2019 and it caused many to write off 2018, in which his peripherals were questionable. “I think at times, probably coming into this season, you could look back a couple years ago and maybe he just had some luck on his side,” Callaway said. “I don’t think anybody h
  15. After a winter of fans and analysts saying the Angels didn’t do enough to address their pitching, Manager Joe Maddon spent much of spring training, and the subsequent summer camp, telling anyone who would listen that the pitching was better than the perception. Now, it’s the fall. And the Angels are likely to miss the playoffs, mostly because the pitching wasn’t good enough. As they prepare for another winter, they’ll be going through the process of evaluating their pitching staff and trying to determine who is a part of the answer and who isn’t. Certainly, there is more reason to be optimi
  16. Back in July, I asked Walker Buehler about the meaning of a Cy Young Award in a 60-game season. “It doesn’t matter to me, to be honest with you,” he said. “Individual stuff, more than normal, takes a back seat this year.” Last week, Mookie Betts echoed a similar thought about the MVP award: “You can’t think about those things and think about the game as well.” That may be true for players, but the voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America still have to vote. We still have to reckon with all the weirdness of the season. Three sets of awards – one each for the West, Centra
  17. The Angels continue to play their best baseball at a time when it’s almost futile. The Angels completed a two-game sweep of the playoff-bound Padres on Wednesday in San Diego, winning 5-2 keep their faint mathematical hopes for the postseason alive. The Angels (26-31) have won six of seven and 14 of 20. They trail the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays by three games apiece, pending each of their games later Wednesday. The Angels have three games left against the Dodgers, following an off day Thursday. The Astros and Blue Jays each have four games left after Wednesday. Although the Angels
  18. The Angels took advantage of Thursday’s off day to drop Julio Teheran from the rotation for the final weekend at Dodger Stadium. The move is no surprise, considering Teheran has a 9.49 ERA, and the Angels can now use their top three starters – Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning – against the Dodgers. Barring a relief outing over the weekend, Teheran’s disappointing season with the Angels has come to an end, well short of what the Angels had hoped for when they signed him to a $9-million, one-year deal in December. Teheran brought a track record of durability and consistency. He
  19. Los Angeles Angels shortstop David Fletcher can’t reach a ball hit for a single by San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning works against a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) SoundThe gallery will resume inseconds San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., right, safely steals second base as Los Angeles Angels second baseman Luis Rengifo waits for t
  20. According to FanGraphs, the Angels entered Tuesday’s game against the Padres with a 0.4 percent chance of making the playoffs. In all likelihood, their season will end Sunday. Andrelton Simmons’ season is already over. The 31-year-old shortstop informed the Angels on Monday he was opting out of the season’s final five games. Players and coaches were given the right to opt out of the 2020 season under the terms set by commissioner Rob Manfred in June. The news came as a surprise within the organization. No player or coach on any team had opted out of the season since Cardinals coach Willie M
  21. With five games left in the regular season and the postseason the longest of long shots, Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has decided to opt out for the rest of the season. The 31-year-old Simmons, who missed about three weeks with a sprained left ankle, will be a free agent after this season. “I have made the decision to opt out of the remainder of the season. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association developed an environment and system that empowered players and provided us the opportunity to decide on whether to play or opt out of the season,” Simmons said
  22. Jared Walsh #25 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a grand slam home run in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) Jared Walsh #25 is congratulated by Max Stassi #33, Andrelton Simmons #2 and David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a grand slam home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) SoundThe gallery will resume in
  23. ANAHEIM >> Now that Justin Upton has discovered himself again, the next challenge will be to make sure this is the guy who shows up in 2021. Upton started this sprint of a season with a horrendous month, and he’s followed it with a good month. He hit .094 with a .357 OPS in his first 71 plate appearances, and since then has hit .318 with a 1.021 OPS in the next 75 plate appearances. Unfortunately for him and the Angels, it came too late to earn any additional opportunities beyond this week, so it’ll be something that Upton takes into the winter and the preparation for 2021. Can you e
  24. ANAHEIM — A relative hot streak in September couldn’t prevent the Angels from yet another losing season. The Angels’ 7-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Sunday ensured that they would finish with a losing record for the fifth straight season. It’s the franchise’s longest drought since seven straight losing seasons from 1971-77. The Angels (23-31) are still not mathematically eliminated from the postseason race, although their chances are miniscule. They are 4-1/2 games behind the Houston Astros for second in the American League West and 4-1/2 behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second wild c
  25. Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout reaches to catch a ball hit by Texas Rangers’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa for an out during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, celebrates hitting a solo home run with Taylor Ward during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) SoundThe gallery will resume inseconds Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor, left, crosses home plate after hitting a h
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