Jo Adell homers and Oliver Ortega makes debut, but Angels lose 8-5 after second-inning implosion
SAN DIEGO — Still trying to work around a shorthanded pitching staff, the Angels opted for a bullpen game on Wednesday night against the San Diego Padres.
By the second inning, it blew up in their faces.
The Padres scored eight runs against three pitchers in the second, quickly burying the Angels en route to an 8-5 win at Petco Park.
“The second inning was a killer,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “We needed one out.”
Indeed, seven of the Padres’ eight runs in the fatal second inning came with two outs, after starter Mike Mayers was replaced by left-hander Sam Selman with two lefties due up for the Padres.
Selman got the first batter, Trent Grisham, into a two-strike count but then hit him with a pitch. The next batter, Jake Cronenworth, also got in a two-strike hole, but then lined an RBI single into left.
Selman then loaded the bases by walking Manny Machado and was replaced by Jake Petricka.
Petricka, however, struggled to find any command, issuing three-consecutive bases-loaded, run-scoring walks before spiking a wild pitch that allowed another run to cross the plate.
Adam Frazier extended the lead from 6-0 to 8-0 with an RBI single in the following at-bat, before the inning finally ended on a Victor Caratini flyout.
“They didn’t beat us up physically with the bats,” Maddon said. “We beat ourselves up there.”
Even without Shohei Ohtani in the lineup during the National League game, the Angels tried to claw back. Padres starter Yu Darvish held them to one run over six innings, but then Juan Lagares and Jo Adell each hit two-run homers in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, to make it a three-run game.
It was too little, too late though. The Angels had already dug themselves a hole too deep.
One bright spot on the mound for the Angels Wednesday was right-hander Oliver Ortega, who pitched 1 ⅓ scoreless innings in his MLB debut.
Ortega, 24, had been with the Angels since being called up on Sep. 1 -- he had a 5.48 ERA in the minors this year, including a 3.75 mark in triple A -- but had to wait until Wednesday to finally take the mound.
Once he did, he pitched well, getting the final out in the sixth inning by striking out Wil Myers before erasing a single in the seventh inning by inducing a double play.
“Wow,” Maddon said when asked about Ortega’s debut. “I gave him the ball, walked into the dugout and said to [pitching coach Matt] Wise, ‘He’s OK.’ And he was. I know that he’s had issues controlwise in the past, but not tonight … That was outstanding.”
Even before his eighth-inning homer, Adell didn’t have many boring trips to the plate Wednesday night.
After Jared Walsh doubled in the second inning, Adell dropped down a bunt to move him over -- though Walsh was thrown out at the plate by Fernando Tatis Jr. in the next at-bat trying to score on a potential sacrifice fly.
“You could argue you want him to swing right there,” Maddon acknowledged, “but I love the fact that he’s trying to play the game right there and make sure the runner was moved.”
His next time up in the fourth inning, Adell had an injury scare after taking a ball off his right-hand fingers on what the umpire ruled a check swing.
Adell appeared to be in pain, but remained in the game, setting up his fourth home run of the season in the ninth. In his last 15 games, Adell is batting .321 with three home runs, five extra-base hits and 14 RBI.
Angels vs. Padres recap: Padres win 8-5
SAN DIEGO — A recap of the Padres 8-5 win over the Angels on Wednesday night.
Top 2nd, no score — Walsh thrown out at home: Jared Walsh continued his recent hot streak at the plate, sending a ground-rule to left field. It gave Walsh a hit in eight straight games in which he’s had a plate appearance.
After advancing to third on a bunt, however, Walsh was thrown out at by right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. at home while trying to score on a potential sacrifice fly.
Bottom 2nd, 8-0 Padres — Angels suffer nightmare inning on mound: The Angels’ bullpen game got off to an auspicious-enough start. Mike Mayers threw a scoreless first inning, then was replaced with two outs in the second after giving up a run.
Sam Selman, a lefty, was summoned with two lefties due up for the Padres, but failed to retire either of them, hitting Trent Grisham with a pitch before giving up an RBI single to Jake Cronenworth that made it 2-0. Selman then loaded the bases by walking Manny Machado.
Still with two outs, Jake Petricka came out of the bullpen next, but had even worse command problems, issuing three-straight bases-loaded, run-scoring walks before spiking a run-scoring wild pitch.
Adam Frazier extended the lead from 6-0 to 8-0 with an RBI single in the following at-bat, before the inning finally ended on a Victor Caratini flyout.
Top 4th, 8-1 Padres — Angels on the board: Brandon Marsh scored the Angels opening run, hitting a triple over Fernando Tatis Jr.’s head in right before scoring on a grounder in the next at-bat.
The Angels had an injury scare later in the inning after Jo Adell took a pitch off his right-hand fingers on a check swing, but he stayed in the game.
End 6th, 8-1 Padres — Yu Darvish finishes strong start: Yu Darvish hardly let the Angels chip away at their massive deficit, finishing his start after giving up only one run in six innings. The right-hander had seven strikeouts, issued one walk and surrendered three hits. He retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced.
The Angels, meanwhile, have pieced together innings four consecutive scoreless innings behind Junior Guerra, José Quijada and Oliver Ortega — who got the final out in the sixth in his MLB debut.
Top 7th, 8-3 Padres — Juan Lagares hits home run: Juan Lagares helped the Angels claw a little bit closer, hitting a two-run homer off Padres reliever Dinelson Lamet. It was Lagares’ fifth home run of the season.
Top 8th, 8-5 Padres — Jo Adell homers: Suddenly, the Angels have cut their deficit down to only three after Jo Adell lifted a two-run homer the other way in the eighth inning. It’s Adell’s fourth home run of the season. He’s batting .321 over his past 15 games.
Final, Padres win 8-5: Despite some late life out of the lineup, the Angels couldn’t overcome their early eight-run deficit, splitting their two-game series with the Padres and falling to 69-71 on the season.
Derek Jeter thanks Angels third-base coach Brian Butterfield in Hall of Fame speech
SAN DIEGO — Angels infield and third-base coach Brian Butterfield gushes whenever Derek Jeter’s name is brought up.
It’s been almost 30 years since Butterfield, then a minor league coach with the Yankees, helped a young Jeter develop some of the defensive fundamentals that turned the shortstop into one of baseball’s most dependable fielders.
But he still remembers that time vividly, the instructional league workouts where he watched the future Hall of Famer begin to take shape.
“If there’s ever a Hall of Famer, he’s No. 1 in my mind,” Butterfield said.
Apparently, Jeter remembers those days fondly too.
When the former Yankees captain was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Wednesday, he thanked Butterfield — along with Gary Denbo, another of Jeter’s former minor league coaches — by name in his induction speech.
“You two are the most responsible for my development as a player,” Jeter said. “There was times where I thought I made a huge mistake turning professional, because I was completely overmatched. You guys helped me restore my confidence. It was through fundamentals and repetition. And I owe you so much.”
Speaking to reporters after Jeter’s speech, Butterfield echoed that sentiment about his former player.
“It was an honor,” Butterfield said. “I tell people back home, because they ask about him all the time, he impacted me a lot more than I ever impacted him.”
When Jeter started working with Butterfield following his first full minor league campaign in 1993, the former first-round pick was coming off a disastrous defensive season in which he’d committed 56 errors and finished with an .889 fielding percentage.
But after daily drills under Butterfield’s guidance over that offseason — practices that were followed by video sessions over lunch — Jeter showed immediate improvement that continued over the rest of his career.
Jeter’s .976 fielding percentage as a big leaguer ranks top-50 all-time among shortstops.
And just before his retirement in 2014, Jeter told the Wall Street Journal that his “boot camp” with Butterfield became “five of the most important weeks of my career.”
Those memories with Jeter still mean a lot to Butterfield, too, now in his second season on the Angels coaching staff.
“I told guys after him that wanted to wear [Jeter’s] No. 2, ‘It takes an awful lot to wear that number,’” Butterfield said. “‘You’re gonna have a great responsibility. You’re gonna have to play the game extremely hard.’”
Butterfield added: “He’s everything that you and I see from the other side of the field, and then some. He’s tremendously deserving.”
Shohei Ohtani to make next pitching start Friday, and other Angels notes
SAN DIEGO — Shohei Ohtani’s next pitching start will come on Friday in Houston against the Astros, Angels manager Joe Maddon announced.
Ohtani is coming off a career-high 117 pitches in his previous outing last Friday against the Texas Rangers, a seven-inning, two-outing start that lowered his ERA on the season to 2.97.
Maddon said Ohtani hadn’t mentioned feeling any extra fatigue this week, either — even after playing in each of the following three games as the Angels designated hitter.
“I don’t know how he does it, where he comes from,” Maddon said with a chuckle. “It’s so unusual to be able to pitch like that, and even DH the next day.”
José Suarez and Jaime Barria will start Saturday and Sunday against the Astros, respectively.
For the second time this season, Mike Mayers will start a bullpen game for the Angels on Wednesday. On Aug. 30, Mayers pitched two innings in the start of a bullpen game against the New York Yankees.
The Angels will also be without Ohtani in the lineup for a second-straight day as they wrap up their final National League series of the season in which the designated hitter isn’t used .
Center fielder Brandon Marsh will fill in for Ohtani in the second spot of the batting order, something Maddon thinks will suit Marsh’s skills as a balanced hitter and speedy baserunner.
“This guy is going to be an upper-end of the batting order kind of hitter,” Maddon said, adding: “He’s got all the attributes to play up top. I just wanted to give it a ride.”
Here’s the Angels full lineup Wednesday:
— Maddon said pitchers Reid Detmers, Austin Warren and Jose Marte are all getting close to returning to game action after being stuck in COVID-19-induced quarantines last week.
Maddon said that Detmers, the lone starter from the group, probably won’t be stretched all the way back out. The team will likely instead use him in shorter bursts of up to 50 pitches at a time.
— Alex Cobb (right wrist inflammation) is scheduled to throw a three-inning simulated game Friday in Houston. The Angels will see how that goes before deciding his next step.
Packy Naughton, Jo Adell help Angels overcome Blake Snell and Padres in 4-0 win
SAN DIEGO — Padres ace Blake Snell lost a perfect-game bid Tuesday night by issuing a leadoff walk to David Fletcher in the top of the seventh.
It was the way his no-hitter was broken up four batters later, however, that was the real gut punch.
With Angels runners on second and third — Fletcher advanced to second earlier in the inning on a Luis Rengifo bunt, then stole third; Jack Mayfield later drew a walk and stole second — Jo Adell laced a two-run single back up the middle, stopping Snell’s pursuit of history and propelling the Angels to an eventual 4-0 win at Petco Park.
“That’s as good as I’ve ever seen Snell,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “We had to be as good, if not better. It turned out we were.”
It was the ultimate spoiler performance from the Angels (69-70), the kind of role they’ll have to play for the remainder of this season.
They not only denied Snell of a no-hitter, but also prevented the Padres (73-65) from maintaining any breathing room in the National League wild card chase, dropping them back into a tie with the Cincinnati Reds for the league’s final playoff spot — one that could lead to a wild card game showdown with the Dodgers, if the Dodgers don’t overtake the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
“I think we’re really creating our own level of energy here that is going to flow into next year,” Adell said of the Angels’ current role as spoiler. “Hopefully some of the games, some of the exciting moments we’ve had [recently], I think is going to trigger something for us in the near future.”
Naughton, a rookie left-hander, rose to the occasion. Making his second MLB start, he worked around a walk in the first, stranded two runners in the second with back-to-back strikeouts, then finished his night retiring nine of the next 10.
“When you go up against someone like Snell … you know runs are going to be hard to come by,” Naughton said. “Having him go out there and throw up zeros, am I paying attention to that? Yeah. But I’m not going out there and saying, ‘Oh, I gotta throw up a zero here.’ I’m just trying to get as deep into ballgames and give our team a chance to win.”
That’s exactly what Naughton did, lowering his ERA in 14 innings since being recalled to 2.57 in the process.
“He has great makeup,” Maddon said of the 25-year-old, whom the Angels originally acquired in a trade with the Reds last year. “He walked right out there and he started throwing strikes. He used all his pitches. … [That performance] is not an anomaly. He’s like that. That’s who he is.”
Snell, meanwhile, looked almost untouchable through six innings, racking up 10 strikeouts on just 66 pitches.
“I’ve been around way too many perfect games and no-hitters,” Maddon said. “And it smelled of that all the way. It smelled like that in the first inning, when I saw Snell’s curveball had no hump in it. Just straight down.”
In the seventh, however, Snell’s outing ground to a halt.
Fletcher took a free pass on five pitches. Then, after Rengifo had a bunt single overruled after video review showed Snell applying a tag on his back while covering the bag, Phil Gosselin and Mayfield forced Snell to continue to battle.
Gosselin saw nine pitches before finally striking out. Mayfield worked a walk in an eight-pitch at-bat, then stole second without a throw.
“Great at-bats by both of those guys,” Maddon said.
Adell delivered in the next at-bat too, fouling off a couple fastballs, laying off one slider, then sending another breaking ball back up the middle for the two-run single.
“[Snell] was really tough to pick up,” Adell said. “For me, it was just getting in there and saying, ‘Just try to put something in play. Hard forward.’ I got a slider that hung over the plate a little bit and was able to do some damage.
“But I give credit all the way around,” Adell added. “We did a really good job of passing info along in the dugout. The more the game went, I think we started to pick up on some things.”
Although Snell limited the damage there, the Padres couldn’t get him off the hook for the loss.
Their lineup failed to score against any of the Angels relievers, as Jimmy Herget pitched the sixth and seventh and Steve Cishek and Raisel Iglesias took care of the eighth and ninth, respectively. And the Padres bullpen gave up two insurance runs in the ninth on a Rengifo solo homer and Adell RBI grounder.
“That’s what it’s supposed to look like,” Maddon said. “You pitch really well, you catch the ball, you come up with a big hit. That’s what we did tonight.”
Angels vs. Padres recap: Angels win 4-0
SAN DIEGO — A recap of the Angels 4-0 win over the Padres at Petco Park.
End 2nd, no score — Good pitching early on: Making his second start of the season, Packy Naughton has begun well. After working around a first-inning walk, he stranded two runners in the second with back-to-back strikeouts.
On the side, Padres starter Blake Snell has been even sharper in the early going, retiring each of the first six Angels batters he faced.
Mid 4th, no score — Blake Snell perfect through four: Blake Snell pitched seven no hit innings in his most recent start on Aug. 31 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Tonight, he hasn’t given up a baserunner through four innings.
Instead, the Angels have struck out seven times and forced Snell to throw only 44 pitches.
Mid 6th, no score — Packy Naughton finishes strong start, but Blake Snell still perfect: Packy Naughton was pinch-hit for in the sixth inning, bringing his start to an end after five scoreless innings. He gave up only two hits and two walks while striking out five.
Blake Snell, however, has still not allowed a baserunner, completing six perfect inning against the Angels offense.
Top 7th, 2-0 Angels — Angels break up Blake Snell’s perfect game, take the lead: Blake Snell lost his perfect game bid by issuing a leadoff walk to David Fletcher in the seventh.
It was the way he lost his no-hitter, however, that was the real gut punch.
With runners on second and third — Fletcher advanced earlier in the inning on a Luis Rengifo bunt, then stole third; Jack Mayfield later drew a walk and stole second — Jo Adell laced a two-run single back up the middle, stopping Snell’s pursuit of history on what was his 30th pitch of the inning.
Final, Angels win 4-0: The Angels tacked on a couple insurance runs in the top of the ninth, then completed their fourth shutout of the season in the bottom of the frame to improve to 69-70 on the season and drop the Padres back into a tie for the second NL wild card spot at 73-65.
Angels aiming to give Shohei Ohtani some rest in final National League series of season
SAN DIEGO — It looks like there will be at least one thing Shohei Ohtani won’t accomplish in 2021: Playing a full game in the outfield for the first time in his MLB career.
The Angels’ two-game road series against the San Diego Padres this week seemed like the last logical opportunity for the two-way star to become a three-way weapon for at least one game, representing the Angels’ final National League series of the season in which the designated hitter isn’t available.
However, manager Joe Maddon said on Tuesday afternoon the team will instead treat this week as a chance to give Ohtani a rare chance to rest.
Ohtani will be available to pinch-hit against the Padres. Under the right circumstances, he could be left in a game for an inning or two defensively afterward to get another at-bat — something he’s done several times this season.
But even that latter scenario was one Maddon said he hoped to avoid.
“I didn’t want to fight or make a point of trying to get him in the lineup as a player right now,” Maddon said. “I just think, based on the year that he’s had and the work that he’s done, this is a baseball moment, telling us just to back off a little bit and see if that could revitalize him for the rest of the year.”
Indeed, Maddon hopes the extra rest this week could lead to benefits over the rest of the season for Ohtani, who has appeared in all but three of the Angels’ games this year overall and is scheduled to take the mound again on Friday or Saturday against the Houston Astros.
While Ohtani’s pitching has gotten better over the course of the season, he’s been slumping at the plate recently.
Since the start of August, Ohtani is batting just .184 over his past 34 games. And though he still has six home runs and a .691 on-base-plus-slugging percentage during that stretch, his season batting average is now just .255 — matching the lowest it has been since the opening week of the campaign.
— Mike Trout did accompany the Angels to San Diego, but Maddon said there is still no update on the center fielder’s status as he continues to try to return from a right calf strain before the season runs out.
— Maddon said pitcher Alex Cobb will throw a simulated game this weekend in Houston as he continues to try to recover from a right wrist injury.
— The Angels will use a bullpen game on Wednesday against the Padres.
— Here’s the Angels lineup for Tuesday. First baseman Jared Walsh, the Angels’ next best healthy hitter after Ohtani, will be on the bench for matchup reasons against left-handed Padres pitcher Blake Snell. Maddon said he wanted only one left-handed bat in the lineup Tuesday, and opted instead for center fielder Brandon Marsh.