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Angels go quietly in 2020 season finale

@RhettBollinger
September 27, 2020

It was just too big of a hole for the Angels to climb out of. In a game emblematic of their season, the Angels fell behind the Dodgers early and couldn't recover in a 5-0 loss in the season finale on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Angels were 9-21

It was just too big of a hole for the Angels to climb out of.

In a game emblematic of their season, the Angels fell behind the Dodgers early and couldn't recover in a 5-0 loss in the season finale on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Angels were 9-21 through their first 30 games and couldn't quite recover despite going 17-13 in the second half to finish in fourth place, three games behind the Astros for the second playoff spot in the American League West.

Box score

They also had an 0-6 record in the Freeway Series against the Dodgers.

"Outside of these three games in L.A., I'm really happy how we finished," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "Very happy. We actually played a much better brand of baseball. We started getting more clearly defined roles. But love the fight, love the fight."

With nothing left to play for after being eliminated from postseason contention on Friday, the Angels played mostly backups and younger players on Saturday and Sunday. They also scratched starting pitchers Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning, giving Patrick Sandoval the chance to make one last impression as a starter on Sunday.

Sandoval, who was coming off three straight solid outings in relief, went 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on one hit and three walks with three strikeouts. He exited after suffering a left calf strain on his 61st and final pitch of the afternoon. First baseman Jared Walsh dropped a popup on the play for a run-scoring error.

Angels not bringing back GM Eppler

The lefty finished his rookie season going 1-5 with a 5.65 ERA in 36 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old showed flashes of promise and is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation next year.

But improving the rotation will be the organization’s main goal yet again this offseason, though the Angels are likely to go after relief help and possibly a closer, as well. They need more pitching of any kind to complement an offense that has superstars Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon.

Angels pitchers combined to give up 10 homers in the season-ending series sweep by the Dodgers. It will be the main task of the club’s new general manager after the Angels decided to part ways with GM Billy Eppler.

“We have to really sit down and look at all of that,” Maddon said of improving the pitching. “I've said this a zillion times: They could have called this game pitching as opposed to baseball. I really have a lot of confidence we'll figure it out offensively among the group that we have. But we have to galvanize and really come together pitching-wise."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.