Demoralized Angels lose seventh in a row, 11-6, to Boston
Reporting from Boston -- The Angels are all out of whack. When they get a quality start, they don’t hit. When they score a bunch of runs, their starter gets shelled or they break down on defense. About the only constant has been their middle relief, which has been terrible all season.
To an already long list of woes, the Angels added this after a demoralizing 11-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park on Thursday night extended their losing streak to seven and dropped their record to 12-18: a lack of mental toughness.
That was the focus of Manager Mike Scioscia’s postgame address, in which he implored the Angels to play aggressively, not tentatively, and to let go of the past.
“Those guys are taking this streak hard, and I think that’s part of the problem,” Scioscia said. “It’s a double-edged sword. You want guys to feel it when you’re not playing well and to have the pride to want to change things.
“But you’ve got to be able to turn that page and get to the next game. Right now, we’re carrying some ghosts from this week forward. You have to get to the next game and start fresh. That was always a strength of this group.”
The Angels actually got off to a great start Thursday night, with a four-run first inning in which they stole three bases, drew three walks off Daisuke Matsuzaka and got run-scoring hits from Torii Hunter (RBI single) and Howie Kendrick (two-run double).
But the lead was gone by the fifth, as starter Scott Kazmir gave up a two-run homer to Victor Martinez in the third and five more runs in the fifth, the left-hander giving up a two-run double to Martinez and walking two before being replaced by Brian Stokes.
Jeremy Hermida’s two-run single and Darnell McDonald’s RBI double drove in runs that were charged to Kazmir, who departed with a 7.11 earned-run average.
Mike Napoli’s two-run homer in the sixth pulled the Angels within one, at 7-6, but Stokes gave up three hits, two walks, hit a batter and committed an error during a four-run sixth.
That left the right-hander who was acquired from the New York Mets for Gary Matthews Jr., with a 6.14 ERA, a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) of 2.32 and not much job security.
In being swept in a four-game series by the Red Sox for the first time since 1980, Angels relievers gave up 16 earned runs, 23 hits and 10 walks in 10 2/3 innings.
“If there are roster moves, they’re not going to be to send a message,” Scioscia said. “They’ll be to give us a better look.”
The Angels are hitting .230 (53 for 230) on the trip. They have been outscored, 54-25, and out-homered, 11-3. They are off to their worst start since 1999 (also 12-18), and their losing streak is the longest since 2001, when they had three seven-game losing streaks.
“When you’re not playing well, some things can become distractions,” Scioscia said. “Guys are starting to press because of something that happened three days ago.
“If you got thrown out trying to steal four days ago, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to try to steal today. If you hung a slider and lost a game four days ago, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to try to make a better pitch with it.”
Perhaps a trip to Seattle, where the Angels begin a three-game series Friday night, will help. The Mariners have lost five in a row and rank last in the American League in runs, homers (10 in 27 games), on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
One little problem: Felix Hernandez, one of baseball’s best pitchers, will start for Seattle on Friday night.
“You get frustrated [about the losing streak], but you have to forget about that, keep pushing,” right fielder Bobby Abreu said. “I understand our pitchers are having some trouble, but we have to support them, try to score some runs. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
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