Angels’ rotation takes another hit in loss to Mariners
In their attempt to assemble their starting rotation of the future, the Angels continue to encounter obstacles. Scheduled to start Wednesday against Seattle, two months into his return from Tommy John surgery, talented young left-hander Tyler Skaggs will instead undergo an MRI exam on his arm.
He told the team he was feeling tightness in his left forearm Tuesday. After their 8-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners, the Angels scratched him and replaced him with journeyman Jhoulys Chacin.
“You’re always concerned, for sure, with any pitcher,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “With Tyler’s history, obviously, we’re going to err on the side of caution.”
Five Angels starting pitchers are already sidelined with season-ending injuries: Matt Shoemaker, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano.
In a similarly frustrating development, the Angels were handcuffed by Seattle’s Taijuan Walker, who threw a three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. The Angels did not put anyone on base against Walker until two were out in the sixth, and he did not allow a hit until Kole Calhoun’s leadoff single in the seventh.
With one out in the third, catcher Carlos Perez grounded a ball to Kyle Seager at third base. The throw across the diamond nearly carried first baseman Dan Vogelbach off the bag, but Perez was called out. In the Angels’ dugout, Scioscia swung his head from side to side in disbelief. Television cameras caught him inserting an expletive into the pointed question, “What is going on?”
The Angels challenged the call. It was not reversed. They did not muster another baserunner until there were two outs in the sixth inning, and the frustration boiled around the field. At one point, Yunel Escobar put his hands on his hips, in an apparent protest to a called strike by home-plate umpire Cory Blaser. At another juncture, he flung his bat to the grass after he struck out swinging.
From the third through the fifth inning, Walker struck out five consecutive Angels. The Mariners inserted better defenders into their corner-outfield spots to begin the sixth, committing to the pursuit of perfection. And then Ketel Marte threw away a routine grounder with two outs in the inning.
Leading off the seventh, Calhoun pounded a single through to right field, and Albert Pujols soon followed with a single to left. The Angels’ remaining hit was a Nick Buss single in the ninth. Walker walked no one.
“Either we open the floodgates,” Scioscia said of his offense this week, “or it’s drip-drip-drip.”
In terms of results, Angels starter Alex Meyer’s performance was not noticeably different from his first. He fired some unhittable pitches. He threw some excessively wild ones. And his pitch count prevented him from even beginning the fifth inning.
After four innings and 74 pitches, Scioscia removed him for left-hander Jose Alvarez. Meyer struck out three, walked two, and yielded four runs. Half scored on a Nelson Cruz homer in the first inning, the ball traveling so high and so far it could not be tracked by MLB’s Statcast software. Another scored on a Nori Aoki line drive that cleared the right-field wall by a foot, and the Mariners managed one more on a single, stolen base and sacrifice fly. Mike Trout prevented a fifth run with a leaping catch to conclude the third inning.
By the eighth, Trout and Calhoun were out of the game. As were the Angels.
The Angels’ roster for instructional-league play in Arizona later this month will include infielder Roberto Baldoquin, their so-far failed $15-million investment of two winters ago, and their top three picks from June’s draft: first baseman Matt Thaiss, outfielder Brandon Marsh and shortstop Nonie Williams. . . . Andrelton Simmons remained out of the Angels’ lineup because of a bruised right hand sustained Sunday. The shortstop underwent a CT scan Tuesday, which showed no fractures. . . . Infielder Kaleb Cowart and catcher Perez are among the Angels likely to participate in winter ball after the season, Scioscia said. Cowart said he was unsure of the specifics, including where he might go. But he will play second base wherever he heads, as the Angels attempt to provide him more experience at the position where they will have a vacancy next year.
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