Angels are hurting at Fenway
The Angels would have been better off sleeping through their alarms Monday morning.
Sure, they would have had to forfeit a game against the Boston Red Sox, but that would have spared them the indignity of an ugly, soggy and sloppy 7-2 loss in Fenway Park and prevented a potentially scary injury to their best -- and, lately, only -- hitter.
As if their sixth loss in seven games and another shoddy road start by Ervin Santana weren’t difficult enough to absorb, right fielder and No. 3 hitter Vladimir Guerrero was knocked out of the game in the first inning when he was hit on the right wrist by an 0-and-2 fastball from Josh Beckett.
Guerrero, who is batting .364 with three home runs and 12 runs batted in, underwent X-rays, which were negative, and the injury was diagnosed as a bruise. He is listed as day to day.
“There’s some swelling near the wrist, but Vlad is OK,” Manager Mike Scioscia said afterward. “That ball hit him as firm as you can be hit. Hopefully, it’s something that won’t keep him out of the lineup for long.”
Monday’s original 10 a.m. EDT start time was moved to noon because of heavy morning rain, allowing the Angels to push back their original 8 a.m. bus to 9:30 a.m. Though the outfield was mushy and the warning track, according to Angels reliever Chris Bootcheck, was “like oatmeal,” the game began after a mere 13-minute delay.
In an effort to ease Santana’s road woes, the Angels had the right-hander extend his pregame warmups into the top of the first inning, when the Angels were hitting, to simulate the timing he would have in Angel Stadium, when he goes immediately from the bullpen to the dugout to the mound.
It’s on to Plan B. Santana took the mound with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Orlando Cabrera’s home run, which ended the Angels’ 14-inning scoreless streak and seven-game homer-less streak, but the Red Sox pounded Santana for six runs and six hits in the bottom of the first.
Julio Lugo opened with a double, Kevin Youkilis hit a run-scoring single and David Ortiz doubled off the Green Monster. Manny Ramirez hit a two-run single to right for a 3-1 lead, and J.D. Drew hit a potential double-play grounder to second.
But Howie Kendrick’s throw to Cabrera at second sailed into left field for an error that allowed Ramirez to score and Drew to take second. Mike Lowell doubled to left for another run, and Alex Cora capped the rally with an RBI double to right.
Santana (1-2), who needed 32 pitches to get out of the first, blanked the Red Sox in the second and third before giving up Ortiz’s solo homer to center in the fourth. He was replaced by Dustin Moseley to start the fifth.
Santana is now 9-13 with a 6.73 earned-run average in 27 starts on the road, giving up 26 home runs, striking out 106 and walking 61 in those games. He is 20-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 32 home starts.
“He had a lot of problems commanding the fastball,” Scioscia said. “He left some over the plate and didn’t get others where he wanted them.... It’s frustrating to see the guy struggle.”
The way the Angels have been hitting, Santana didn’t have much room for error. They were outscored, 25-3, in three games against the Red Sox and are batting .233 with 18 runs in their last eight games, an average of 2.3 a game. They had eight hits Monday, including Kendrick’s homer in the ninth.
They’re batting .163 with runners in scoring position during the stretch.
“You know at some point things will turn around and we’ll play the way we know we can play, get good pitching and the key hits and do it all on the same day,” center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. said.
“I’m not going to hang my head. I know things can turn around in a hurry. You’ll go through times when you’re catching all the breaks, the balls are falling and you’re getting all the calls. That’s how the game is.”