Kole Calhoun heaved his bat toward the Angels dugout as his towering seventh-inning drive cleared the right-field wall in Progressive Field on Sunday, the response to his 25th home run fueled more by disgust than celebration.
The solo shot wasn’t nearly enough in a 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians that sent the Angels to their fourth defeat in a row and their eighth loss in 10 games.
On July 25, the Angels were 54-49, a season-high five games over .500 and four games back in the American League wild-card race after a two-game sweep of the Dodgers.
They have since lost five of seven games to Baltimore and Detroit, each on pace to lose 100 games, they were swept by the red-hot Indians and are 56-57 and nine games behind Tampa Bay for the second wild-card spot.
“We just didn’t come out here and get it done on both sides of the ball,” Calhoun said. “We’re in a rough patch right now, we know that. We just need a little something to go our way and get back on the winning side of the things and get this ball back rolling.”
Calhoun said it was tough to maintain such optimism on a day the Angels, already decimated by injuries and the shocking death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, lost their most reliable starting pitcher to a major knee injury, their star shortstop to a perplexing ankle injury and their most promising young pitcher to an elbow injury.
Felix Pena, who is 8-3 with a 4.58 earned-run average in 96 1/3 innings, was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament after injuring his right knee while covering first base in the second inning of Saturday night’s game.
The right-hander had been the only starter to remain in the rotation for the entire season. He will undergo surgery and will need six to nine months to recover, a process that could carry into spring training.
Simmons, who sat out five weeks of May and June because of a severe left ankle sprain, reinjured the same ankle while swinging in the cage Saturday and was put on the 10-day injured list Sunday. Manager Brad Ausmus said the shortstop will be out for “at least a couple of weeks.”
Canning, the rookie right-hander who is 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts, was put on the IL because of elbow inflammation. An MRI test revealed no structural damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, and Canning is expected to miss only one start.
Outfielder Justin Upton sat out the first 11 weeks of the season because of a toe injury, infielder Zack Cozart had a season-ending shoulder injury in June, hot-hitting infielder Tommy La Stella suffered a broken leg in July and catcher Jonathan Lucroy missed much of July because of a broken nose and concussion before being designated for assignment Friday.
When Ausmus takes a step back to assess the totality of the team’s injuries and misfortune, does it make his head spin?
“Nope,” he said. “You have to keep plugging away. You can’t get caught up in what could have been or what should have been, it’s what it is. It’s not how we would have scripted this season, for sure, but we have to find a way to win games, regardless.”
Although the injuries to Pena and Canning were clear-cut, Simmons said his ankle injury is “a mystery to me.” He didn’t recall twisting it in the cage. It just started hurting.
“It was the most normal swing,” he said. “It’s the same ankle but not in the same spot. It’s kind of odd and a little confusing.”
The earlier injury, suffered when Simmons lunged for the first base bag on a groundout, was to the outside of the ankle. This injury, diagnosed as a bone bruise and an ankle sprain, is to the inside.
“Hopefully, it’s just a couple of days,” Simmons said. “I have no clue.”
Canning said he felt a little tightness in his elbow after throwing six scoreless innings Tuesday night. He was relieved the injury was not more serious.
“Any time you have an injury you are kind of worried, but I definitely could have thrown [on Monday],” Canning said. “I sat down with the medical staff and Brad and Doug [White, pitching coach], and we thought it might be a better idea for sure to see what’s going on.”