Angels go through spell of bad relief

Times Staff Writer

CLEVELAND -- Francisco Rodriguez on Wednesday night, and Jose Arredondo on Friday night.

That’s two bullpen meltdowns in two games if you’re scoring at home, and suddenly that Angels relief corps, considered one of the best in baseball, is looking a bit vulnerable.

Arredondo, the rookie right-hander who had an 0.92 earned run average in 34 games, faced four batters Friday night, walking three and yielding a run-scoring single in the pivotal sixth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

Wednesday night in Anaheim, Rodriguez failed to hold a two-run, ninth-inning lead, giving up three runs in an eventual 10-7, 12-inning loss to Seattle.


“Our bullpen has been as good or better than any in baseball,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Even in the best of bullpens, there are going to be times when things don’t get closed down. But these guys will be there for us. They’ve been there all year.”

On a night when Indians left-hander Cliff Lee left the Angels little margin for error -- the Cy Young Award favorite gave up two runs and eight hits in his third complete game of the season to improve to 17-2 -- the Angels made far too many pitching mistakes.

The Angels had a 2-1 lead, courtesy of Juan Rivera’s fifth-inning, tiebreaking home run off Lee, when Arredondo, who had walked only 13 in 39 1/3 innings, replaced starter Jered Weaver with a runner on second and one out in the sixth.

Arredondo, who has a 95-mph fastball and nasty split-fingered pitch, jumped ahead of Kelly Shoppach with two strikes before throwing four balls, three in the dirt, including a wild pitch that allowed Shin Soo Choo, who doubled with one out, to take third.

Arredondo got ahead of Ryan Garko, who poked an 0-and-2 pitch to center for an RBI single. He then walked pinch-hitter David Dellucci to load the bases and .222-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera on four pitches to force in the eventual winning run.

“His first two pitches to Shoppach were electric,” Scioscia said of Arredondo. “He had Garko 0-2 and couldn’t bury a splitter. Then he had trouble finding the zone after that.”


Arredondo, who has pitched in four consecutive games, but with two off days in between, felt fine physically.

“There’s nothing you can say,” he said. “It was a bad game. I can’t say I didn’t get the calls. I just made mistakes.”

The Angels are counting on Arredondo to deliver in some big, late-inning situations in October, so they need him to remain confident and aggressive, but pitching coach Mike Butcher isn’t concerned about Arredondo’s psyche.

“He’ll bounce back,” Butcher said. “He’s been throwing well all year, and this was one of those games when he wasn’t hitting on all cylinders. Tomorrow is a new day. That’s the beauty of being a reliever. I’m definitely not worried about him throwing strikes.”

Justin Speier replaced Arredondo and struck out Grady Sizemore looking and got Franklin Gutierrez to ground out, keeping the score at 3-2.

The Angels had a chance to tie in the seventh when Garret Anderson singled to center, extending his hitting streak to 19 games, and took third on Rivera’s one-out single to center, but Jeff Mathis grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. That was one of four double plays the Angels hit into in the last five innings.


“Absolutely, that’s an opportunity that got away,” said Mathis, who was batting .210 on the season but .333 with runners in scoring position. “Any time you get runners in scoring position against Lee, you’ve got to make it count.”




Izturis is out: His injury is eerily similar to DiSarcina’s in 1995. D5