By Pete Zarustica with wire service reports
The best player in Major League Baseball can’t hit the ball. A pop up is a triumph.
A team that was in first place in May, dreaming of the post-season, may be looking forward instead to the end of this nightmare.
And who’s skippering this sinking ship? Depends which day it is.
Welcome to the world of the Los Angeles Angels and their fans. At the halfway point of the 2020 season, the Halos are in fourth place in the five-team American League West. They’re 16 games out of first and 6.5 games out of a wild card spot.
That’s roughly how things stood at the end of the 2021 season.
At the midpoint of this campaign it looks like – as Yogi Berra said – “deja vu all over again.”
After taking three of four games at the end of July, the Halos had climbed back into second place in the AL West. But they hit the wall hard in Houston, losing all three games and being outscored 21 to 4 by the home team.
Symbolic of the Angels’ frustrations, they struck out 20 times in losing 4-2 to the Astros on Sunday. Symbolic of how bad things have become, Mike Trout went 0-for-11 in the series, striking out nine times.
“Mike Trout is future Hall of Fame,” said acting interim manager Bill Haselman. “It’s too long of a season to never have struggles. And everybody goes through it, even the best in the game. And he’s going through it right now and we’re confident he’ll get out of it.”
Wait … what? Who’s Bill Haselman? Well, he’s usually the team’s catching coach. But after Joe Maddon was fired, bench coach Phil Nevin became interim manager. But after Ray Montgomery, acting interim manager and Nevin were suspended for their roles in the “Battle vs. Seattle” last week, Haselman is in charge at least through today (Tuesday) starting a two-game series against the Marlins in Miami. The Angels are next in Baltimore Thursday through Sunday against the Orioles.
Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press contributed to this article.