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Angels routed by Orioles as shorthanded pitching staff struggles again

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Angels relief pitcher Elvis Peguero is removed from the game by manager Joe Maddon in front of catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Angels relief pitcher Elvis Peguero, left, is removed from the game by manager Joe Maddon, right, in front of catcher Kurt Suzuki during the fifth inning of Thursday’s 13-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
(Terrance Williams / Associated Press)

Hampered by injuries and COVID-19 issues, the Angels are facing question marks on the mound after a series loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Angels’ shorthanded pitching staff roughed up again in 13-1 loss to Orioles

Baltimore's Pedro Severino is greeted by teammates at home plate after hitting a fifth-inning grand slam.
Baltimore’s Pedro Severino (28) is greeted by teammates after hitting grand slam off Angels reliever Jake Petricka in the fifth inning Thursday.
(Terrance Williams / Associated Press)

While it was clear the Angels weren’t on the verge of a playoff push a couple weeks ago, they did seem to be laying down building blocks for the future — especially on the mound.

Patrick Sandoval was turning into arguably the second-best starter on the team. José Suarez and Jaime Barria had shown promising flashes in their return to the rotation. Prospects Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez had been recalled from the minor leagues. And young relievers such as Austin Warren were emerging in the bullpen.

It was becoming one of the few bright spots for the Angels to cling to down the stretch, a silver lining to potentially carry into the offseason

But now, a rash of injuries, inconsistency and COVID-19 issues has wiped even that positive storyline away, culminating in a calamitous 13-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday afternoon that marked one of the Angels’ worst defeats all season.

“Everything about our pitching needs to get straightened out again,” manager Joe Maddon said.

The Angels lost to the Baltimore Orioles 10-6 and pitchers Reid Detmers and Austin Warren were added to the injured list without any designation.

Earlier this month, Sandoval and Rodriguez both went down with injuries and have no clear timeline for a return. Meanwhile, Suarez and Barria began to regress, further hamstringing a rotation that was already trying to overcome the loss of Andrew Heaney’s trade and Alex Cobb’s wrist injury.

Then this week, Detmers, Warren and fellow rookie reliever Jose Marte all went on the injured list with no designation amid the Angels’ sudden COVID-19 issues (teams can’t publicly disclose individual COVID-related absences without player consent).

All told, the Angels (63-66) have just three starters on the active roster and several missing pieces in the bullpen. They tried to plug the holes, but ended up suffering a series loss to an Orioles club that had won just a single game all month previously.

Baltimore Orioles' Trey Mancini (16) is tagged out at home plate by Los Angeles Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Baltimore’s Trey Mancini (16) is tagged out at home plate by Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki during the fifth inning.
(Terrance Williams / Associated Press)

And how exactly they will piece together a pitching plan for an upcoming stretch back home against the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees — beginning with a game Friday for which the Angels still haven’t announced a starter — is unclear.

“There’s so many unknowns right now,” Maddon said Wednesday night after his team surrendered 10 runs following the virus-induced roster shuffle earlier in the day. “It’s very difficult to say exactly how I think this is going to play out.”

By Thursday afternoon, the outlook had only gotten worse.

Barria continued a recent slump, lasting less than four innings on Thursday — he gave up one run and five hits in just 3 1/3 innings — for a third-consecutive outing.

Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria throws a pitch during the third inning Thursday.
(Terrance Williams / Associated Press)

As a group, Angels starters have averaged less than four innings per outing since Sandoval last pitched on Aug. 13.

In the fifth inning, Elvis Peguero and Jake Petricka, the two pitchers the Angels recalled on Wednesday, allowed the Orioles (40-86) to blow the game open with a six-run ambush.

Peguero, who was one of the two pitchers the Angels got from the Yankees for Heaney and was making his MLB debut, issued three walks and yielded two hits to begin the frame.

While Maddon complimented Peguero’s upper-90s mph sinker and accompanying slider, he also acknowledged, “you can see his youth.”

With the bases loaded, Maddon turned to Petricka to try to escape the jam, but Petricka’s first pitch was instead hammered by Pedro Severino for a grand slam.

Highlights from the Angels’ 13-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.

The Angels’ position players weren’t much help either. At the plate, they managed just three hits against starter Keegan Akin, who had a 7.92 ERA entering the day. A leadoff homer by Shohei Ohtani was their only run.

In the field, they committed three errors, including two during an eighth inning in which the Orioles scored five unearned runs against reliever James Hoyt, sealing what was the Angels’ third-most lopsided loss this season.

“Of course I didn’t like it, but there are mitigating reasons and circumstances, so I’m not upset,” Maddon said afterward, pointing to the obstacles his team faced on its five-city, 10-game road trip.

“Throw that one away. It was a pretty grinding road trip that I thought our guys did extremely well with. Tough last day.”

Unless the Angels can get their pitching staff back on track soon, however, they could be in danger of suffering a tough finish to the season too.

Prosecutors in the Tyler Skaggs case accuse the Angels of refusing to give information about members in the organization potentially distributing drugs.

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Betting lines and odds for Angels vs. Orioles on Thursday

Angels pitcher Jaime Barria delivers during a game earlier this season.
(Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

The Angels have an early game Thursday (10:05 a.m. PDT) in Baltimore as they try to bounce back from the embarrassment of the Orioles snapping a 19-game losing streak against them.

Las Vegas oddsmakers opened the Angels as favorites of between -136 and -145 yesterday afternoon, but early money came in on the O’s as the line was bet down to -130 during the night and now is down to -120 as of 6:30 a.m. this morning. Note: I’ve written several times this season at VSiN.com about the “swagger theory” that says to bet on a team to win another game after they snap a big losing streak (because they’ve got their swagger back), so it makes sense that early bettors have been jumping on the underdog Orioles and driving down the price to around +110 or less at most books as of 6:30 a.m.

Jaime Barria (2-2, 5.87 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) gets the start for the Angels. If you think his stats are ugly, look at Baltimore’s Keegan Akin, who is 0-8 (the O’s are 1-10 overall in games he starts) with a 7.92 ERA and 1.81 WHIP.

With the lackluster starting pitching matchup, the Over/Under opened at a high 10.5 runs and early money steamed in on the Over and it’s up to 11 runs. The Over is 4-1 so far in the season series with the Angels beating the Orioles 14-8 in Tuesday’s first game in Baltimore and the Orioles winning 10-6 on Wednesday.

VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, offers more expert sports betting content in a free daily email at VSiN.com/email.

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Angels dealing with virus issues, blow four-run lead in loss to Orioles

Shohei Ohtani gave up four runs on Wednesday on Thursday in the Angels loss. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) waits after surrendering a two-run home run to Baltimore Orioles’ DJ Stewart during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

BALTIMORE — The Angels dealt with battles on multiple fronts Wednesday.

Manager Joe Maddon confirmed that the team was dealing with COVID-19-related issues on its roster. Coupled with several conventional injuries and an overworked bullpen, the Angels’ shorthanded pitching staff ran into struggles.

And by the end of the night, it all contributed to a 10-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, a game in which the Angels blew an early four-run lead to let the Orioles end a 19-game losing streak.

The loss was frustrating for the Angels, who got an underwhelming five-inning, four-run start from Shohei Ohtani and watched their bullpen surrender a five-run eighth-inning that allowed the Orioles to take the lead.

But the roster issues — which including Reid Detmers and Austin Warren joining Jose Marte on the injured list without designation, often a sign of COVID-19 related absences — are causing the most uncertainty moving forward.

When asked if he feels as if the Angels have the behind-the-scenes situation under control, manager Joe Maddon said he was unsure.

“I have no idea,” he said. “The virus is one of those things that nobody can see. Obviously nobody is immune. Getting vaccinated is the most important thing, obviously. I want to believe we’re doing the protocol things correctly. With that … hopefully we’ve got everything under control, but we’ll know more in the next couple days.”

Read more here>>>

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Angels set season high in runs, hand Orioles 19th straight loss in 14-8 blowout

The Angels handed the Orioles their 19th straight loss on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

BALTIMORE — The Angels have grown accustomed to a certain brand of frustration in recent years, squandering historically dominant individual performances from Mike Trout and, this season, Shohei Ohtani on underperforming teams that have failed to break .500 since 2015, much less make the playoffs.

But what the club witnessed from their hosts on Tuesday at Camden Yards was something different — a scene of ultimate futility, abject despair and apathetic resignation.

For the 19th game in a row, the Baltimore Orioles lost, 14-8 to the Angels.

And as usual, it wasn’t all that close.

While the Orioles (38-86) led after one inning Tuesday, they came unglued immediately after. The Angels didn’t pitch particularly well, yet the Orioles staff was far worse. With Ohtani set to pitch on Wednesday, and the Tampa Bay Rays coming to visit this weekend, MLB’s modern-era losing streak record of 23 games appears to be in increasingly grave danger.

The Angels (63-64) might be stuck in mediocrity. But the Orioles are spiraling toward something far worse.

“This is incredibly challenging and a huge gut check,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said postgame. “We’re trying to keep our spirits high.”

Early in the night, though, his team’s performance stooped to new lows.

After the Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Angels struck for five in the top of the second.

Brandon Marsh hit a game-tying RBI single, his first of four hits. Jo Adell then gave Angels the lead with a two-run double, the first of his four RBIs. Juan Lagares capped the inning with a two-run blast, the Angels’ only home run all game.

After that, the Angels tacked on three more in the third, five more in the fourth and an insurance run in the eighth. They set season highs in runs and hits (19), went 11 for 19 with men in scoring position and snapped a recent offensive slump that saw them score only two runs while getting swept by the Cleveland Indians this week.

“We just came on and never relented,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “It was a really fun offensive night to watch.”

The only Angels starter who didn’t have multiple hits: Ohtani, who still reached base three times with a single, walk and intentional walk — the latter of which drew boos out of a sparse crowd that otherwise watched the early onslaught in silence, seemingly numb to another disaster unfolding on their home field.

“The stage they’re at in their organization, it’s tough,” said Angels starter Dylan Bundy, a fourth overall draft pick of the Orioles in 2011 who spent his first five MLB seasons with the team.

“They’re hoping to rebuild. I guess that’s what they’re gonna do. It’s not really any of my concern anymore. Wish nothing but the best for that organization. They treated me well when I was there.”

Bundy’s return to Baltimore didn’t last long. In his shortest start as an Angel, he lasted just 1⅓ innings before being pulled after loading the bases in the second. Yet, he was still more effective than several of his Orioles counterparts.

Starter Spenser Watkins surrendered eight runs in a two-inning outing. Konner Wade yielded five runs in 1⅓ innings out of the bullpen. And the Orioles’ run differential during their losing streak dropped to negative-106 — one of several stunning stats in what has become the longest MLB losing streak in 16 years.

“It’s not easy what they’re going through,” Maddon, a friend of Hyde from their time together with the Chicago Cubs, said of the Orioles’ situation before the game. “It’s just where they’re at developmentally, and about the players you have.”

The Orioles, whose youth movement featured a team debut for former Angels prospect Jahmai Jones on Tuesday (he went hitless with three strikeouts), did show life later in the game. They scored three runs in the fifth against Junior Guerra, then three more in the sixth against Andrew Wantz, cutting what was once a 13-2 deficit down to 13-8.

But that was as close as they’d get. Austin Warren, Steve Cishek and Raisel Iglesias combined for 3⅔ scoreless innings out of the bullpen. The Angels slapped hands near the mound at the end. And the few remaining orange-clad spectators trudged toward the exits, their club finishing the night one step closer to ignominious history.

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Angels notes: Mike Trout’s return remains unclear, but team sees more promising signs in his rehab

Mike Trout remains sidelined by a right calf strain. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

BALTIMORE — While a finish line still isn’t quite yet in sight, Angels manager Joe Maddon said the team remains encouraged by Mike Trout’s continued rehab work on a right calf strain.

Trout, who has been with the team for the entirety of its road trip over the last week, has told the team’s training staff he’s felt increasingly better after each workout — though he still isn’t to the point where the club can schedule a rehab assignment or pinpoint a potential return date.

“He’s actually coming through these workouts a little bit better, but he’s still not ready,” Maddon said, adding: “He’s undergoing a lot of treatment. He’s been doing more movement on the field. It’s all there. We’re all looking forward to it. It’s just not ready to give you a final deadline or timeline. But he is feeling better in a lot of ways, meaning that the next day [after he had a workout] is not nearly as difficult as it had been.”

In other roster news Tuesday:

-Maddon revealed outfielder Justin Upton has been battling a calf injury recently, leading him to be left out of the lineup for Tuesday’s series-opener against the Baltimore Orioles.

“It had been bothering him a bit,” Maddon said. “He’s kind of been playing through it, but today was not feeling as comfortable.”

-Maddon again said he couldn’t disclose why relief pitcher Jose Marte was placed on the injured list with no designation Sunday.

One of the potential reasons a player can be placed on the IL without designation is for a COVID-related absence. While Maddon couldn’t comment on whether that was the case with Marte, he did confirm that the Angels are not experiencing any team-wide outbreak of the virus.

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