The second busload of
Seventeen hours earlier, they had been eliminated from postseason contention, and the club's collective gaze turned toward 2018. Unsurprisingly, many of the position players received the day off, though the news came as a surprise to some.
“Well,” second baseman
Phillips missed two games earlier this month because of a back strain.
Without them, the Angels lost their last road game of 2017, 5-4, to the
The Angels managed more extra-base hits than singles.
Rob Brantly’s two-run homer tied the score. After
“A long, unprotected throw with no cutoff man is what got us tonight,” Angels manager
Again, the Angels conveniently chose to start
But, because he made three starts after
As Norris took the mound Thursday, the White Sox trolled him, inadvertently or not. The giant scoreboard in center field read: "Norris is the first pitcher in franchise history to start a game after recording at least 19 saves earlier in the year."
Norris, 32, threw three scoreless innings, replacing Heaney one last time.
To contend next season, the Angels will require more starting pitchers they can count on to complete the year. They know that. Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs, who missed most of this season because of injuries, will have to reach innings totals they have not reached since 2015 and 2014.
Asked before Thursday's game if the Angels planned to discuss and develop a plan to maximize both pitchers' time on the mound given those restrictions, Scioscia did not answer directly.
"I don't want to talk about the offseason too much," the manager said. "But it's not the end of the world if a pitcher can't hit the 200-inning mark. So, these guys all have enough starts to get the innings you would need for a lion's share of the season. Hopefully, they're functional innings that are helping you win games."
He added that he detected no "perceived deficiencies" in either pitcher's capacity to log full 2018 seasons. And he suggested that learning the range of possibilities to await could have as much value as predicting one.
"It's not only just guidelines," Scioscia said. "It's also expectations. Where can you expect some guys to be? We'll look at that and get ready. What's best for these players will be best for us."
Twenty-three major league teams have won playoff games since the Angels last won one Oct. 22, 2009. Of the seven who have not, two, Colorado and Minnesota, have a chance to win this year. …The Angels entered Thursday on pace to pick 17th in the 2018