ANAHEIM — It is the team’s official website, of course, and if anyone is going to shine a positive light on all this it has to be mlb.com/angels, right?
Sure enough, there the headline was Wednesday night, after another loss, another blown opportunity, another step toward the ultimate free-fall:
“Halos keep pace despite dropping nail-biter”
Though technically accurate, I’m not sure that it’s within the true spirit of a playoff chase to favorably characterize losing all the time as a way to “keep pace.”
While not suggesting ground has been gained, the phrase does hint at moving forward, something the Angels are doing these days only chronologically.
You know – tick, tick, tick. Like a clock. Or perhaps that’s a bomb about to explode.
Because, just a few hours later, on Thursday afternoon, the Angels lost to Cleveland again, 4-1, which was not shocking since everyone these days is losing to the Indians.
No, this result was not shocking in the least bit, the Angels, in particular, having dropped 11 in a row to Cleveland.
The defeat was damaging, however, another precious game falling off the schedule as the Angels attempt to survive themselves just long enough to catch a Minnesota team also in desperate need of spinning things positively.
At some point in the next 10 days, one of these two clubs almost certainly will clinch the American League’s second wild-card spot.
But then, maybe they’ll both suffer simultaneous double pulled hamstrings, the sight of the Angels and Twins limping to the finish line en masse a fitting visual for a late-season “dash” that otherwise remains quite unsightly.
Minnesota entered Thursday having lost three in a row and 5 of 6 before winning at Detroit.
The Angels now have lost four straight and 9 of 13, slipping 2½ games behind in this wearied stagger toward the AL’s final postseason spot.
“We need to focus on our nine innings, what we need to do on the field,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Don’t get distracted by numbers, this and that, and where teams are and who’s playing who. We’ll figure that out after our game.”
After this game, the figuring was pretty simple. In frantic need of victories, the Angels instead were just swept, the Indians shutting them down in the finale by using six pitchers – none of whom worked as many as three innings.
In that regard, this looked a little like a spring training game, the Angels playing right along by resembling a team in failed search of…