Angels remain winless against Red Sox
The Angels are in such a funk that their inability to deliver a clutch hit is beginning to take a toll on their usually stout starting pitching, a fact that became evident in their 6-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
With virtually no margin for error, Angels ace Jered Weaver “got a little too fine,” words that Manager Mike Scioscia and Weaver used to describe the right-hander’s five-inning, six-run, six-hit effort.
“That could be a byproduct of us being stalled offensively, putting pressure on himself to make the perfect pitch and trying to strike everyone out,” Scioscia said. “Jered is at his best when he pitches to contact.”
Weaver, who had an 0.82 earned-run average in his previous three starts, gave up a home run to No. 9 hitter Darnell McDonald in the third inning, a blast high over the Green Monster in left field, and walked two before giving up a grand slam to No. 8 hitter Ryan Kalish in the fourth.
Weaver’s worst start in more than two months dropped him to 11-8 this season and 1-2 with a 7.76 ERA in five career starts at Fenway Park.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz held the Angels to five hits in seven innings, improving to 14-5 and lowering his American League-leading ERA to 2.36.
“You don’t want to go out there thinking if you give up one run, the game is over,” Weaver said. “I’m not going to say it’s not in the back of your mind, but you don’t want to pitch like that. You want to be the aggressor.
“I feel like I got away from my fastball earlier than I wanted to, and I was trying to be too fine. Going against Buchholz, I’m trying to limit the runs. I got away from the game plan a little too soon.”
At the start of a challenging nine-game stretch against Boston, Minnesota and Tampa Bay, the Angels fell to 60-60 overall and 0-8 against the Red Sox. They trail the first-place Texas Rangers by eight games in the AL West.
The Angels were one for eight with runners in scoring position Tuesday night and are three for 28 (.107) in those situations in the last five games, in which they have scored 10 runs.
After setting a franchise record and leading the major leagues with a .297 average with runners in scoring position last season, the Angels rank eighth in the AL with a .258 average with runners in scoring position this season.
“We’ve been as poor this year as any team we’ve had with runners in scoring position,” Scioscia said. “As a team, we’re just not getting it done. There’s not a magic pill that cures everything.
“Some guys are too tentative, some are trying to go the other way too much, some guys are yanking and cranking in those situations. Guys need to take what the pitcher gives them and try to work with that. It’s very frustrating. We’re better than this.”
The Angels’ only hit with runners in scoring position Tuesday didn’t even lead to a run. It came in the eighth inning, when Hideki Matsui singled to right field with two outs to load the bases.
Erick Aybar, dropped from the second spot to sixth in the 99th different lineup Scioscia has employed this season, struck out on three pitches against Felix Doubront. Aybar also grounded out to first base with the bases loaded to end the sixth.
“It’s tough for all of us,” right fielder Torii Hunter said when asked about the frustration of hovering around .500 for weeks. “Everyone in here loves winning. We just have to lift each other up.”
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