Angels could have used Mike Trout in loss to Mariners
Mike Trout was placed on the paternity list Thursday afternoon, and the Angels’ offense sputtered for eight innings without the three-time American League most valuable player in an eventual 8-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.
Those bats finally came alive in the ninth when Brian Goodwin doubled, Anthony Rendon walked and Shohei Ohtani cracked his second homer in as many games, a three-run shot to center field off hard-throwing right-hander Dan
But the rally was rendered moot by another bullpen meltdown, this one by Angels closer Hansel Robles, who was torched for four of the five runs Seattle scored in the top of the ninth to turn a 3-2 lead into an 8-2 margin.
“We have to be better out of the bullpen,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said on a videoconference call. “We have to get this proper and right because you really can’t get anywhere without a substantial bullpen.”
One night after six Angels relievers combined to give up seven earned runs in four innings of a 10-7 loss to the Mariners, Robles grooved a first-pitch fastball that Shed Long Jr. drove over the right-field wall for a leadoff homer.
Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin, who has taken a knee during the national anthem before games, says the inequality and police brutality must be addressed.
Dan Vogelbach and Mallex Smith walked, and Joe Hudson advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. J.P. Crawford stroked a two-run single to center for a 6-2 lead and stole second.
Tim Lopes reached on an infield single off reliever Kyle Keller and stole second, and Kyle Lewis dunked a two-run single to shallow center for an 8-2 lead.
“Once Long jumped him on that pitch it buckled him a bit,” Maddon said of Robles. “After that, nothing was really sharp.”
Robles’ fastball averaged 97.2 mph last season, when the right-hander went 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 23 saves in 71 games. He averaged 94.5 mph on the nine four-seam fastballs he threw Thursday night, topping out at 95.9 mph.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong [physically], he just needs to pitch,” Maddon said. “But that little extra click to get that swing and miss wasn’t there, I agree.”
The Angels are unsure how long they will be without Trout, whose wife, Jessica, was due to deliver to deliver the couple’s first child, a boy, Monday.
Maddon said he was aware late Wednesday night that Trout might leave the team Thursday, but the Angels did not announce whether Jessica had gone into labor or delivered the baby.
Players are eligible to miss up to three games on the paternity list, and Trout will have to test negative for the coronavirus before returning.
Without their best hitter, the Angels managed only three hits in 61/3 innings off soft-tossing left-hander Marco Gonzales, scoring two unearned runs on Max Stassi’s two-run homer in the fifth. They were unable to put a dent in relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Matt Magill in the seventh and eighth.
The Mariners series complete, the Angels will welcome the Astros to Anaheim on Friday night for the first time since Houston’s illegal sign-stealing scandal from 2017 erupted last winter.
It might not be with open arms.
The Angels did not lose to the Astros in the 2017 World Series like the Dodgers did, but they played the Astros 19 times that season, going 7-12 against them despite scoring only one fewer run (73) than Houston (74) in those games.
“Over the last few years we’ve had some games against them where we’ve battled, we’ve scored a few runs and you feel pretty confident, and then you go back and play defense,” Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who is on the 10-day injured list because of a left-ankle sprain, said earlier this spring. “And they’re right back in it.”
Empty stadiums have spared the Astros from the verbal abuse — and trash-can banging — they would have taken from fans, but the Dodgers didn’t let them off the hook this week.
Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly fired a pitch near the head of Astros third baseman Alex Bregman on Tuesday night, sparking a benches-clearing incident and an eight-game suspension for the right-hander.
Maddon said he can understand his pitchers may want to retaliate against the Astros, but he encouraged them to exercise restraint.
“We’ve talked about playing baseball, straight up, that’s what I’m anticipating and that’s all I’m looking for,” Maddon said.
Observations from the Angels’ 8-5 loss to the Mariners
1. Comebacker: Dylan Bundy recovered from a rocky first inning when he gave up a single, a walk and a three-run homer to Jose Marmolejos to blank the Mariners on one hit over the next five innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two in six innings.
2. Max effort: Max Stassi, who had three hits in 42 at-bats for an .071 average with no homers and two RBIs in 20 games last season, clanged a two-run, opposite-field home run off the right-field foul pole to pull the Angels to within 3-2 in the fifth. Stassi now has two homers and five RBIs in five games this season.
3. On the mend: Shortstop Andrelton Simmons said the left-ankle sprain he suffered Monday is “not as bad” as the one that sidelined him for five weeks last season.
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