LEADING OFF: Angels cut ties with Maddon, Correa near return
A look at what’s happening around baseball Wednesday:
HASTY HALO FIRING
Free falling toward a dreadful bit of team history, the Angels fired manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday and appointed third base coach Phil Nevin to the role on an interim basis.
Los Angeles had lost 12 straight games entering Tuesday night’s contest against Boston, one shy of the franchise record. The slide came weeks after the club had one of the best records in the American League and amid an unprecedented slump for star Mike Trout.
The 68-year-old Maddon went 130-148 with the Angels, who hired him before the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season for his self-described dream job. Maddon spent three decades of his career as a player and coach for the Angels before going on to an impressive managerial career that has included three Manager of the Year awards.
Reid Detmers (2-2, 4.20 ERA), who threw a no-hitter May 10 against Tampa Bay, is set to start against Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi (3-2, 3.41).
The Minnesota Twins are on track to get shortstop Carlos Correa back from his COVID-19 hiatus, and the fact that they’re playing the major league-leading Yankees in a matchup of AL division leaders wasn’t lost on the two-time All-Star.
“Absolutely, this is an important series, and we’re facing a tough team, so I’m going to make sure I’m out there with the boys,” Correa said Tuesday before sitting out for the eighth straight game.
Correa tested positive in Detroit last week and flew on a medical plane back to Minnesota. He said he experienced “pretty strong” symptoms, including a “massive headache,” sore throat, excessive coughing and body chills, but over the last three days he’s fared better during his workouts at Target Field than he expected.
“The first two days it was tough, but it’s been getting better ever since,” said Correa, one of 16 players the Twins had on the injured list or COVID-19 list. “I’m very optimistic about going out there this series.”
Marlins players and coaches met for 90-minutes prior to the club’s home series opener against the Nationals on Tuesday night, then went out and routed Washington.
“A lot of people spoke,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It was more of a lot of things that the group needed to get out in the open and talk about. It wasn’t designed about wins and losses, honestly. It’s more about the group coming together and trying to reach their potential.”
After a 12-8 start, the Marlins were 7-19 in May. They began play Tuesday fourth in the NL East and 13 ½ games behind the division-leading Mets.
“It was my idea to get the group together and talk,” Mattingly said. “We have higher expectations for ourselves as a team. On the baseball side, I’m disappointed about that. On the other part, it was really more about to have everybody talk.”
Budding ace Sandy Alcantara (6-2, 1.81 ERA) looks to extend his recent run of dominance when he starts Wednesday.
Alcantara pitched seven innings of three-hit ball last Thursday in a 3-0 win over San Francisco. The 26-year-old right-hander has gone at least seven innings in his last five starts and allowed only three earned runs. The outstanding stretch has featured one complete game, two eight-inning outings and another two that lasted seven.
AGAINST A GREAT
Rays right-hander Corey Kluber (2-2) is slated to face St. Louis, and he has had tremendous success against Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. The surefire Hall of Famer is 1 for 20 with a single career against Kluber.
“Obviously, when you face a guy like Albert, you’re aware of it, and I wouldn’t say that it’s an at-bat that I have circled or anything,” Kluber said. “I just think that he’s a really good hitter, and for whatever reason, maybe past matchups have gone my way. But I think I’m going to treat him with just as much respect coming into this game as I would have when I was first getting my feet wet.”
The three-game series marks the Cardinals’ first trip to Tropicana Field June 10-11, 2014.
Oakland left-hander Jared Koenig is set to make his major league debut in a start against Braves righty Ian Anderson (4-3) in Atlanta. The 28-year-old Koenig has a 2.21 ERA in nine games with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Koenig will try to end the A’s seven-game slide, a tough test against surging Atlanta, which has won six straight.
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