In Friday night’s 6-4 loss to the Houston Astros, Angels second-year pitcher Jaime Barria struggled to get a feel for his slider, a pitch he throws 48% of the time. The powerful Astros exploited the weakness, drilling Barria’s go-to breaking pitch for three home runs in the first inning at Minute Maid Park.
Barria allowed six runs and four homers over 2 2/3 innings. His last pitch of the night plunked the Astros’ Robinson Chirinos in the shoulder.
Despite facing nine Astros batters in the first inning, Barria remained in the game. He recovered and retired six in a row. The hanging slider with one out in the third inning that was hit for a solo home run by Carlos Correa, who also belted a two-run blast in the first, ended the streak.
Barria (4-10) has lost his last seven decisions.
“I can learn from this,” he said in Spanish. “I practice something in every bullpen. I try to make adjustments the best I can. That’s what this game is about. You make mistakes, but you try to make as few as possible.”
Catcher Kevan Smith saved face for the Angels. He capped a fourth-inning, three-run rally against Houston starter Zack Greinke (7-1) with an RBI double to right field. All three of Smith’s hits went to the opposite field, including the solo shot he smoked off Greinke’s first pitch of the third inning.
Since snapping an 0-for-29 skid Sept. 5, Smith has enjoyed a nice streak. He has 14 hits in his last 33 at-bats. His resurgence is a welcome development for a team that lost its most powerful sluggers — Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton — to season-ending injuries last week.
Trout had successful surgery on his right foot Friday to remove the Morton’s neuroma that had been bothering him for about a month. He sent a picture of it to manager Brad Ausmus, who compared it to uni, the mustard-colored edible part of a sea urchin. “It looked larger than I thought it was going to be,” Ausmus said. … Fellow outfielder Upton will be on crutches for two to three weeks while he waits for the platelet-rich plasma injection he received Friday to take effect on his injured right knee. … Catcher Max Stassi, bothered by a sore oblique, hasn’t played since Sept. 2 and likely won’t get another chance. He went to Nashville on Friday to see a specialist. The Angels had not received feedback from the visit before playing the Astros on Friday night. ... Ohtani (knee) will likely begin rehab activities next week.