Sure, it had been more than two years. But the last time they faced Carlos Rodon, the Angels batted .857 against him.
Tuesday, they hit .083.
The somewhat anonymous Chicago White Sox left-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and ending up surrendering one single and one double in 24 at-bats in what became a 4-2 Angels loss.
“Nothing’s happening [on offense] so it looks like you’re not trying,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “That’s not the case. We’re working hard. We’re trying hard.”
The defeat dropped the Angels (50-52) two games under .500 for the first time this season and further advanced the notion that they are, at their best, average.
Against teams that were .500 or better at the start of the week, the Angels are 25-38. Against everyone else, they’re 25-14.
Rodon’s dominance also reinforced the reality that the 2018 Angels just aren’t good when matched opposite left-handed starters, their record falling to 9-20.
The White Sox got two runs in the third inning, and single runs in the seventh and eighth for a 4-0 lead. In eventually ridding themselves of Rodon, the Angels did thrill the fans who remained long enough to see the eighth inning. A double by Kinsler and two-out walk by Kole Calhoun brought on the White Sox bullpen.
Reliever Juan Minaya immediately gave up an RBI double to David Fletcher and then, after getting ahead of Andrelton Simmons 1-2, hit the Angels shortstop on the hand.
That brought up Mike Trout, who recently went 25 games without driving in one of his teammates. Now, with one swing, he had a chance to score three of them.
That didn’t happen, but, after falling behind 0-2, Trout worked an eight-pitch walk, forcing in a run and bringing the Angels to within two.
Minaya exited in favor of Jeanmar Gomez, who retired Justin Upton on a pop fly.
In the ninth against closer Joakim Soria, the Angels had two chances to tie the score after Kinsler’s one-out single. But pinch-hitters Shohei Ohtani (fly out) and Luis Valbuena (strikeout) couldn’t produce the hit they needed.
Rodon’s start marked the second time in five days that the Angels were no-hit into at least the sixth. Houston’s Dallas Keuchel lost his bid Friday with two outs in the seventh.
Rodon was making his fourth start against the Angels. In 2015, he pitched very well against them twice.
This time, he gave the Angels barely a hint of a hit until Calhoun’s sixth-inning liner was plucked off the grass by right fielder Avisail Garcia.
Fletcher then drew a walk to become the Angels’ second baserunner — Trout walked in the first — before Simmons bounced a single through the middle to break up Rodon’s no-hitter.
But even then, the Angels managed to turn that slice of production into instant nothing.
As Fletcher advanced to third, Simmons rounded first base too far and was caught before he could scramble back — with Trout coming up next.
“You see that crop up from time to time when you’re not really swinging the bats the way you can,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “You’re trying to force things. Unfortunately, sometimes you get into situations where you get some bad outs.”