The Los Angeles Angels are running out of time in their late push to sneak into the playoffs.
They opened this week with a realistic shot at second place in the American League West, but will need a win on Thursday afternoon to avoid getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in their three-game series in Anaheim, Calif.
The Angels lost the series opener 9-8 on Tuesday after falling behind 8-0.
Los Angeles (20-30) fell behind early again on Wednesday and ended up losing 9-6, keeping them 4 1/2 games back of the Houston Astros for second in the division with 10 games remaining.
Wednesday’s loss was particularly bothersome for manager Joe Maddon because the Angels had their most consistent starter on the mound, right-hander Dylan Bundy, but he lasted a season-low 2 2/3 innings.
Maddon said after Wednesday’s loss that it’s imperative the Angels get off to a better start on Thursday, and that begins with starting pitcher Griffin Canning.
“We get behind the proverbial eight ball often and we just keep fighting back,” Maddon said. “That’s a great characteristic to have, but to get to the promised land, you’ve got to pitch. You just cannot get there and win unless you pitch at a high level consistently. And we need that again from our starter (Thursday).”
The Diamondbacks saw their playoff hopes disappear while losing 18 of 20 from Aug. 19 to Sept. 9, but manager Torey Lovullo likes what he’s seen in Anaheim.
“These guys have been grinding, and playing hard, and practicing hard, for this type of a result,” he said. “That’s what’s most gratifying, when I see the dugout full of excitement and feeling good about themselves. They deserve it. And I want that to continue for as long as we can possibly do it.”
The Diamondbacks (19-31) are scheduled to send left-hander Alex Young to the mound for the series finale.
Young (2-3, 4.42 ERA) will be making his sixth start of the season to go along with eight relief appearances.
He’s coming off his second win of the season, holding the Seattle Mariners to two runs and two hits in 5 1/3 innings of relief on Friday, allowing the Diamondbacks to hold on for a 4-3 win.
Young has never faced the Angels and the only Los Angeles player who has batted off Young is third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is 0-for-3.
Canning (0-3, 4.57 ERA) has pitched well enough in two of his past three outings to get his first win of 2020.
He was dinged by his own defense in an 8-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday.
Canning took a 2-0 lead into the third inning before the Rockies scored twice when center fielder Mike Trout and right fielder Taylor Ward miscommunicated on a fly ball that should have been the third out of the inning, instead dropping for a two-run double.
Ward also misplayed a deep fly that led to another run in the fourth.
Canning was finished after allowing those three runs over 5 2/3 innings.
On Aug. 30, Canning held the Mariners to one run and four hits over eight innings, but didn’t get enough offensive support and the Angels lost 2-1 in 10 innings.
Canning has never faced Arizona, and Jon Jay is the only member of the Diamondbacks to face Canning, going 1-for-3.
–Field Level Media