Angels feel sting of recent losses to losing opponents

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone “It happened to us last homestand, too; (last-place clubs) Baltimore and Detroit rolled in and we won two of the seven games, so that was extremely frustrating. Pittsburgh (50-69 entering Wednesday) obviously has a better record than those two teams, so we’re not happy losing any game, but that’s even more tough to swallow.”Third baseman David Fletcher, who did his part to help the cause Tuesday with four hits, a walk and and three runs scored, said the Angels haven’t been looking past opponents, they’ve just been struggling.“I don’t think there’s any letdown,” he said. “Every game we go out there and try to win, doesn’t matter who we’re playing against.“Obviously, we haven’t been playing well the last week or two. But I don’t know if it has to do with losing to a bad team. Every team’s got good players, I guess just the fact that the last week and a half, two weeks, we haven’t been playing well.”RAMIREZ’S SUSPENSION KICKS INNoé Ramírez is back, except he isn’t. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield center_img Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros ANAHEIM – A loss is a loss, but some are tougher to take, Angels Manager Brad Ausmus said Wednesday before his ballclub took the field to try to avoid a three-game sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates at Angel Stadium.The Angels came out of the All-Star break hot, going 9-3 to climb to a season-high five games over .500. They’ve cooled significantly since, falling five games below .500 with Tuesday’s loss.Adding to the ignominy of the slide, nine the Angels’ last 14 losses have come against teams with losing records.“Yeah, its frustrating, that’s very true,” Ausmus said. “A lot of times you look at the beginning of the season and you think, ‘If we beat the teams we’re supposed to beat, then we’ll be fine.’ That being said, we don’t have the personnel that we thought we had when the season started. “It boils down to how it goes with our starters,” Ausmus said. “The bullpen becomes even more critical.”Ramírez said the league was “stern” regarding his appeal, which he dropped after it was made clear he wouldn’t be allowed to reduce the number of games he was suspended, though he was able to diminish his fine some.PUJOLS PLAYS FOURAusmus inserted veteran slugger Albert Pujols into the Angels’ lineup for the fourth consecutive game Wednesday, a relatively rare stretch this season, when Ausmus typically has paced Pujols by limiting his consecutive starts to three.“I think the days off have helped him keep on the field and off the injury list,” Ausmus said. “But I also openly admit that his workout regimen is extremely strict and he follows it, and that’s a huge part as well.” After being sidelined with a viral infection, the right-handed pitcher was activated Wednesday from the injured list after coming through a simulated game without issue Tuesday. But being activated triggered Ramírez’s three-game suspension for hitting Jake Marisnick with a pitch on July 16.To create space for him, the club optioned right-hander Jake Jewell to Salt Lake.The Angels will have to play with 24 players for the next three games, which won’t necessarily do any favors to Ausmus’ struggling ballclub.Related Articleslast_img read more

NBA Draft: Brandon Ingram expected to fit in well with Lakers

first_imgIngram’s expected selection could signal another feel-good for a franchise eager to recapture championship glory. “I’m looking forward to it,” Russell said. “The draft is definitely exciting, especially when you assume something is going to happen and it doesn’t happen. That opens it up for everybody else.”After all, the Lakers wrestled with a debate last year on whether they should draft a big player (Jahlil Okafor or Kristaps Porzingis) or a point guard (Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay). The Lakers chose the latter. Few anticipate any surprises this year. The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to select LSU forward Ben Simmons because of his superior playmaking ability. The Lakers may have also hosted workouts for Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield, California forward Jaylen Brown, Marquette forward Henry Ellenson and Kentucky forward Skal Labissiere, Yet, those around the NBA believe the Lakers only did it out of due diligence in case they acquired another first-round pick in a trade. Meanwhile, NBA talent evaluators have complimented Ingram’s defense, outside shooting and ability to play multiple positions after he won ACC’s Freshman of the Year award during his lone season at Duke. Those close to Ingram have raved about his work ethic. Case in point: Ingram’s recent promotional video revealed that he skipped his senior prom so he could train more at the gym. “The way the game is being played right now, he’ll fit right in,” said Donald Ingram, Brandon’s father. “He’s so offensive-minded. He can dribble. He can pass. He can shoot. He’s a team player.”The Lakers received that impression both when they interviewed Ingram at the pre-draft combine in Chicago in May and when he dined with members of the Lakers’ front office and coaching staff before his workout. “Nice, young kid,” Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw said of the 18-year-old. “I was left with a good impression. He was very well mannered and he was respectful.”Shaw then added that Ingram arrived with a heavy appetite, eager to add more weight and muscle on his listed 6-foot-9, 190-pound frame. Ingram has revealed his hope to weigh 210 pounds before the 2016-17 season started. Yet, some NBA evaluators argued Ingram can easily overcome that weakness with his other skills. “He’s going to be one of the leading guys at some point in time,” Atkinson said. “He will get that franchise back to where it wants to be.”That presumes the Lakers will select Ingram, of course, a decision that could become official later Thursday night. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It seems inevitable Mitch Kupchak’s phone will ring and vibrate constantly on Thursday, filled with multiple trade proposals. It symbolizes the job description the Lakers’ general manager has on the day of the NBA Draft.Ever since the ping-pong balls bounced the Lakers’ way last month, however, those within and outside the Lakers organization have strongly suggested a foregone conclusion. The Lakers will draft Duke forward Brandon Ingram with their No. 2 pick. “He’s not going to say it publicly,” said Anthony Atkinson, who coached Ingram on an AAU team in Kinston, N.C. “But I’m sure that’s what he’s hoping for.”That should not be surprising. In a recent promotional video documenting his basketball journey, Ingram received a haircut at a barbershop while watching Kobe Bryant play in a Lakers’ game last season. center_img Others close to Ingram, however, reiterated the diplomatic message he stressed following his pre-draft workout with the Lakers earlier this month. As Kinston High School coach Perry Tyndall said, “Whoever wants him, he’s ready to go and embrace it. “He’s ready to prove to be a bigger player on any organization. If it is L.A., there’s no doubt he will be tickled to put on that purple and gold and try and help the Lakers organization.”The Lakers sure could use the help.They finished with their worst record in franchise history for two consecutive seasons. For the first time in 20 years, the Lakers also cannot lean on Bryant to ratchet up the intensity and make a game-winning basket. Yet, Lakers coach Luke Walton said this week that “the future is bright” for numerous reasons. The Lakers have an intriguing young core, including a playmaking D’Angelo Russell, a bruising Julius Randle, a prolific Jordan Clarkson and an athletic Larry Nance Jr. The Lakers will have about $60 million to spend in free agency. Walton’s pleasant personality and quick rise in the coaching ranks as a Golden State Warriors assistant could also jumpstart a Lakers team that fielded mixed reception toward Byron Scott’s more stern approach. last_img read more