Tyler Skaggs, one of the Angels’ most effective pitchers this month, pitched well early in a 4-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on Saturday night.
He used his curveball effectively, wielding it in two-strike counts to punch out four batters through three innings. But borderline pitch calls and a fifth inning that began with a walk and a balk ruined Skaggs’ chances at a clean line.
Skaggs labored through 4-1/3 innings, issuing four walks and giving up two hits. He was charged only two runs, one on Marcus Semien’s RBI double in the fifth inning and another when Matt Chapman followed with a homer on the first pitch from reliever Trevor Cahill.
“He was going after them,” manager Brad Ausmus said of Skaggs. “The stuff overall was pretty good. But he was up near 100 pitches, and we’re trying to avoid big innings, and keep the game close.”
The 3-0 deficit proved insurmountable for the Angels (42-42). Oakland starter Brett Anderson handcuffed them, limiting them to one baserunner through four innings and not allowing a hit until Andrelton Simmons’ leadoff single in the fifth.
Anderson was nearly untouchable. The veteran left-hander allowed just two hits and issued two walks in 7-2/3 innings. Luis Rengifo, whose two-out double in the eighth inning ended Anderson’s night, was the only Angel to reach second.
Skaggs matched Anderson early. Mark Canha’s single to left with one out in the fourth inning was Oakland’s first hit.
Skaggs allowed only one more hit before exiting.
Temerity didn’t help Skaggs’ case. Inefficiency cost him. Ausmus could give no thought to allowing Skaggs a third crack at Oakland’s order.
“Me and Brad have talked about this,” Skaggs said after his shortest outing since June 6, which was a four-inning start against the Athletics. “I’m sure he gave you his answer. Hopefully, the next time I go through the third time through the order, it’s deeper in the game. It’s his decision. It’s his team. I just come to work every day and hopefully I can help our team win.”
Walsh called up
After using him in consecutive games, the Angels optioned reliever Luke Bard to triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday. They called up first baseman and left-handed pitcher Jared Walsh to take Bard’s place on the roster.
With Cahill in the bullpen, the Angels weren’t hard-pressed to improve depth there. Walsh is a part-time pitcher who has thrown one inning across nine appearances this year, including two in the major leagues. If it came to it, he could pitch in a mop-up role as he has done many times before.
“We don’t necessarily have to have an arm in the bullpen because we have some length in the bullpen with Cahill,” Ausmus said. “It gives us options. If we need him as an arm, he’s done two innings at Salt Lake.”
The Angels haven’t announced a starter for Monday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, so they will have to make another roster move soon. It is likely to involve rookie left-hander Jose Suarez, who will be eligible to rejoin the major league club Monday.
Right-hander Matt Harvey, on the injured list since May 25 because of an upper back strain, will begin a new rehabilitation assignment with one of the Angels’ minor league affiliates on Tuesday. He hasn’t pitched since June 8, when he gave up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings in Salt Lake and was subsequently pulled off his first rehab assignment. Harvey has been throwing bullpen sessions and working to regain his mid-90s velocity, which eluded him his last two outings. …
J.C. Ramirez, who this week agreed to extend his rehab assignment another 30 days as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery, threw 82 pitches over five innings in his fifth start for Salt Lake. He gave up two runs, six hits and one walk out and struck out four. The Angels plan for Ramirez to make at least one more start, which puts him in line to return to the major leagues after the All-Star break.