Dave Winfield had nothing to say after the Angels’ 4-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians Saturday night, and that was appropriate. The Angels did nothing worth talking about.
In their latest variation on what has become a tired theme, the Angels collected only five hits off rookie left-hander Denis Boucher, who was winless in his 10 previous major league starts.
Boucher (1-6) held the Angels scoreless until the eighth inning, when Donnie Hill walked and Luis Sojo doubled with two out. But by then, the Indians had scored four runs, three off starter Kirk McCaskill (7-12) and one off Jeff Robinson on Albert Belle’s 14th home run of the season.
“I’m out of quotes, out of observations, out of hits, out of wins,” Winfield said.
Much more of this, and the Angels will fall further out of the AL West chase than they can afford. Saturday’s loss before a crowd of 26,062 at Anaheim Stadium left them six games behind the Minnesota Twins, the largest deficit they have faced this season.
“We’re just not swinging the bats well,” catcher Ron Tingley said. “We’re facing a guy who’s 0-6 and we’re making the guy (Boucher) look like Nolan Ryan. The guy was around the plate, not overpowering, not normally a guy who’d go out and hold you to five hits.”
The Angels have managed only 18 hits in their past four games and are 3-6 on this home stand.
Boucher, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on June 27 with outfielders Mark Whiten and Glenallen Hill for pitcher Tom Candiotti, entered Saturday’s game with a 5.96 earned-run average. But he had no problems Saturday night, despite facing a revamped Angel lineup that featured nine right-handed hitters. Boucher walked two and struck out three over 7 2/3 innings, recording 13 groundouts. Two outs resulted from a first-inning double play that negated Dick Schofield’s leadoff walk.
By contrast, two of the three walks McCaskill issued cost the Angels a run.
“I just feel great about tonight,” said Boucher, a native of Montreal. “I kept my ball down and they hit a lot of groundballs.”
The Angels were down, 1-0, after Glenallen Hill led off the game with a walk, was sacrificed to second, and scored on Carlos Martinez’s two-out single to left. Mike Aldrete’s hit-and-run single in the sixth after singles by Carlos Baerga and Belle made it 2-0, putting the game almost out of the reach of a team that is barely averaging three runs per game this month (50 runs in 16 games).
“They got the two-out hits and we just couldn’t put anything together,” center fielder Dave Gallagher said.
Gallagher twice stranded runners in scoring position, in the second inning after Bobby Rose had tripled over Whiten’s glove in right and in the fourth, after Lance Parrish and Rose had back-to-back singles. Tingley’s one-out double in the third was wasted, too, as Schofield and Sojo both flied to right.
“It’s just a matter of pressing. Everybody wants to do the job, and the harder they try, the worse it gets,” Manager Doug Rader said. “It’s not like this is something that hasn’t been discussed for the last week. We’ve discussed 15 different angles. It comes down to a matter of confidence and a matter of trying too hard. That’s all there is to it.”
He tried resting left-handed hitters Dave Parker, Wally Joyner and Luis Polonia, but as Rader said, “It didn’t do much to jump-start the offense, that’s obvious.” Nothing they did helped McCaskill, who lost for the seventh time in his last eight decisions.
Angel pitchers have yielded 23 runs in the nine games of this home stand and have an ERA of 2.25, but that has been offset by the team’s .190 batting average over that span.
“Mac pitched well enough to win,” Rader said. “It’s been the same reiteration now for as long as I care to remember.”
This is a stretch they would like to forget. “It’s getting to the point where you have to sit back and laugh,” Tingley said. “You look around this (locker) room and you can’t believe this is happening. You’re always going to get individuals who are struggling, but to struggle as a team like this is unbelievable.
“Sooner or later we’re going to come out of this, and it’s got to be sooner rather than later. We’re passing up some tremendous opportunities. Our pitching staff is holding teams to one or two runs and we’re not winning.
“We’ve held meetings. Guys have stood up and talked and everybody’s trying to kick themselves in the butt. Guys are trying to do the little extra things, like taking a guy out at second base, or whatever, but it’s just not clicking. It’s come down to the offense. The defense and pitching have been outstanding, but it comes down to the offense doing its part.”
* SOOTHING THE WOUND
Rod Carew, no longer bitter over his departure from the Angels, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame today. C3