What Angels manager Joe Maddon called a “big bump in the road” Friday afternoon looked more like Heartbreak Hill on Friday night.
The Angels were blown out in a 10-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in front of a crowd of 28,721 at Citizens Bank Park, continuing a 2 ½-week freefall that is threatening to wipe out all of the good vibes and momentum they built during an impressive six-week start.
The Angels have now lost nine straight games — their first such streak since Aug. 4-15, 2016 — and 13 of their last 16 games, falling from a 24-13 record and a first-place tie with Houston in the American League West on May 15 to 27-26 and seven games behind the Astros on Friday.
Their starting pitching has been spotty, their relief work erratic and their offense virtually nonexistent on a four-game trip in which the Angels have been outscored 27-3 by the New York Yankees and Phillies.
The two hitters the Angels lean the most on — Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani — have been virtually silent during the losing streak.
Trout went hitless in four at-bats Friday and is hitting .114 (four for 35) with one homer, two RBIs, 13 strikeouts and one walk in his last nine games. Ohtani went hitless in three at-bats Friday and is batting .133 (four for 30) with two homers, four RBIs, 13 strikeouts and six walks in his last 10 games.
The underachieving Phillies, off to an uninspiring 22-29 start, fired manager Joe Girardi earlier Friday and replaced him with bench coach Rob Thomson, who was named interim manager for the rest of the season.
“It’s tough, man,” Maddon said of Girardi. “I know Joe really well. I like him a lot. I know he’s going to be fine after this. … It’s early in the season, quite frankly, and I’m telling you, things change. As quickly as they change one way, they can change back to the other.”
It took all of one pitch for the Phillies to spark a change Friday night, Kyle Schwarber crushing Angels right-hander Chase Silseth’s first pitch of the game, a 95-mph fastball, into the trees beyond the center-field wall for a 432-foot homer.
Bryson Stott followed J.T. Realmuto’s second-inning single and Nick Maton’s walk with his first big league homer, a towering three-run shot to right field for a 4-0 Phillies lead.
Angels long reliever Jaime Barria replaced Silseth in the second and retired the side in order in the third and fourth but ran into trouble in the fifth when Schwarber walked, Rhys Hoskins doubled and Bryce Harper hit an opposite-field three-run homer to left field for a 7-0 lead.
Realmuto was hit by a pitch and scored on Maton’s triple, a sinking liner that bounced past a diving Taylor Ward in right field, for an 8-0 lead. Ward, slowed by a neck/shoulder injury for two weeks, was removed from the game in the bottom of the sixth because of right-hamstring tightness.
Schwarber and Harper then hit their second homers of the game in the sixth, Schwarber sending a 435-foot shot into the center-field trees and Harper another opposite-field shot to left for his 24th career multi-HR game and a 10-0 lead.
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin gave up five hits in eight shutout innings, striking out six and walking one, to improve to 2-4 with a 3.88 ERA.