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Angels fire manager Joe Maddon amid 12-game losing streak

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Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, left, disputes a stolen base call during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif. on Monday, June 6, 2022. ( AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

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The Los Angeles Angels’ plummet from having one of the best records in the American League to a 12-game losing streak cost Joe Maddon his job on Tuesday.

General manager Perry Minasian recommended a move to owner Arte Moreno, then went to Maddon to tell him the news.

Third baseman coach Phil Nevin will serve as interim manager for the remainder of the season, beginning Tuesday night when the Angels (27-29) host Boston.

“Looking at the last two days, that’s really when I started thinking about making a change. And I try not to make emotional decisions. I’ll be honest, I’ve been emotional the last few days. There were some really tough losses,” Minasian said.

Maddon, 68, went 130-148 with the Angels, who signed him ahead of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season for his self-proclaimed dream job. Maddon spent three decades of his career playing and coaching the Angels before going on to an impressive managerial career that included three Manager of the Year awards.

The Angels were beaten 1-0 in Maddon’s last game by the Red Sox and journeyman starter Michael Wacha, who threw a three-hitter against the star-studded Halos on Monday night. Los Angeles capped a seven-game road trip in the East on Sunday with a 9-7 loss at Philadelphia after rookie Bryson Stott hit a game-winning three-run homer with two out in the ninth inning. The Angels led 6-2 in the eighth inning before Bryce Harper tied it on a grand slam.

“The last two weeks have been really difficult. There was not a single phase of the match where we were good,” said Minasian.

The Angels have been on a 3-16 overall skid since May 15, when they were 24-13 and tied for first in the AL West.

The Los Angeles offense, which was among the best in the majors through the first six weeks, scored just 35 points during its 12-game losing streak with a minus-43 point differential. The pitching staff of the Halos turned into the inefficiency that has plagued the franchise’s past seasons, posting an AL-worst 6.31 ERA during the streak.

AL MVPs Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani struggled. Trout has just one hit in his last 28 at-bats while Ohtani is batting .180 (7 for 39) during the losing streak.

“It’s hard to lose a manager or anyone in general that you build a relationship with,” Trout said. “At the end of the day, we have to go out there and play together. Everyone should be held accountable, myself included. Players have to go out and perform.

After finishing with losing records in Maddon’s first two seasons, the Angels got off to a strong 27-17 start this year before their current losing streak began. They are one loss away from tying the longest slippage in franchise history, and the crunch dropped them 8½ games behind Houston for the AL West lead after being in first place on May 15.

“Obviously, it’s not all Joe’s fault. The players are, myself, partly to blame, as I was underachieving,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I just want to say thanks to Joe. I appreciate everything he has done for me. »

Ohtani thrived under Maddon, who prioritized unleashing the Japanese star’s two-way talents on both sides of the ball. Maddon worked with Ohtani to determine a workload that allowed him to shine as a hitter and pitcher.

Moreno’s big-money club finished with six consecutive losing streaks in the longest active skid in the majors despite a roster with Trout and Ohtani, who have never won a playoff game.

The Angels’ seven-year playoff drought is also tied for third-longest in baseball, but they appeared to be on track to make the field wide this fall before their current puzzling skid.

However, Los Angeles still has a chance. It started the day just 1.5 games from last place in the AL playoffs.

The streak forced a dismal end to what Maddon hoped would be a storybook conclusion to his career at the Pennsylvania native’s adopted home in Orange County. The genial, talkative bench boss excelled as a manager for nine seasons at Tampa Bay and five more with the Chicago Cubs, who ended their 108-year World Series championship drought during his tenure in 2016.

Maddon’s first season lasted only 60 games due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, Trout played just 36 games before being sidelined in May with a season-ending calf injury.

Maddon is 1,382-1,216 in 19 seasons as a manager.

Nevin is the Angels’ third manager in just over four seasons since Moreno cut ties with Mike Scioscia, who led the Angels dugout for 19 years and won their only World Series championship. Maddon was Scioscia’s bench coach during that title season in 2002.

The Halos fired manager Brad Ausmus after just one terrible season at the end of 2019, and the move appeared to have been made because Maddon had just come on the market after parting ways with the Cubs. Moreno then fired general manager Billy Eppler and hired Minasian after the 2020 season, but the first general manager seemed to get along wonderfully with Maddon.

Nevin, 51, is the first Orange County native to lead the Angels. He played 12 major league seasons for six teams, including the Angels in 1998. He was never a manager above the Triple-A level, but he did spend four seasons as a third baseman coach. of the New York Yankees before joining Maddon’s staff this season.

“I think he’ll do just fine,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. -up, but he invested a lot in this game.

Nevin said he spoke to Maddon earlier on Tuesday, which helped him feel comfortable.

“Joe was great and told me to take that and run with it and be the person that I am, which I set out to do. It made it easier for me because it was a day emotional,” Nevin said. “There are highs and lows compounded by how the past 12 days have unfolded.

“There’s some excitement, but I know what today’s story is like. But it’s about this band in this room.

Maddon is the second manager to be fired this season. Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was fired last week and the Phillies quickly swept the Angels.

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AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell contributed from Minneapolis.

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