It is not cruel, but it is an unusual sort of punishment
It is not Trout's fault, of course, but when the team goes down, so will he, still absent a playoff victory as a major leaguer.
Another insufficient offensive effort on Saturday night at Angel Stadium meant another loss, 6-3 to Tampa Bay.
Trout reached base three times. Among them, his eight teammates managed eight visits to the basepaths. Angels manager
"I know we hit our share of balls hard, and we had nothing to show for it," Scioscia said. "We need to get a lot more continuity offensively."
The Angels started JC Ramirez, the Nicaraguan right-hander they thrust into their rotation in April after a half-decade of relief work. At first, he impressed with his easy velocity and surprising stamina. Lately, his results have dramatically tapered. Major league scouts have come to a consensus: On a traditional team with established starting pitchers, he fits best in the bullpen.
The 2017 Angels are a nontraditional team with little healthy pitching depth, so Ramirez was their choice to start the second game of the second half. His struggles continued, as he surrendered two singles in Saturday's first inning and two more in the second. The second pair netted the Rays one run.
Come the third, Tampa Bay struck for more.
Ramirez lasted through the sixth. Petit gave up a run in the seventh, hampered by a rare mistake from Trout. Playing his fourth game in center field since his May 28 injury, Trout could not locate a routine fly ball amid the twilight sky. He held up his hands one second before the baseball landed 10 feet from him.
Not charged as an error, that flub provided the Rays runners on the corners, and
Valbuena moved the deficit back to four by clubbing a solo shot to center in the bottom of the inning. The veteran first baseman who entered the night hitting .181 made it three runs with another homer in the ninth and pronounced his year anew afterward.
"I forgot the first half," Valbuena said. "The new season started today."
The Angels expressed excitement about his emergence, as halting as it might prove to be. They still envision the 31-year-old in the middle of their lineup.
"His last two at-bats," Scioscia said, "he was where we expect him to be."
The Angels (45-49) had not fallen as far as four games below .500 since April 23. They moved four games behind