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Rookie Jo Adell’s struggles continue in Angels’ loss to Athletics

Angels second baseman David Fletcher, left, and right fielder Jo Adell collide while catching a fly ball.
Angels second baseman David Fletcher, left, and right fielder Jo Adell collide while catching a fly ball during the sixth inning of the Angels’ 5-4 loss Sunday.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

If Jo Adell needs some consolation during his rocky rookie season, he can always look at fellow Angels outfielder Mike Trout’s career as a reminder that even the consensus best player in baseball struggled in his first taste of the big leagues, when Trout hit .220 in 40 games as a 19-year-old in 2011.

Adell, the highly touted prospect who was a first-round pick in 2017, had another rough day at the office Sunday, going hitless in five at-bats with three strikeouts and committing a two-base error that led to a pair of unearned runs in a 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Oakland Athletics.

Adell, 21, who was called up on Aug. 4 to replace struggling veteran Justin Upton, is batting .196 (10 for 51) with one double, no RBIs, 22 strikeouts and three walks in 14 games. He struck out with two on to end the fifth inning and flied out with two on to end the ninth on Sunday.

Adell has looked neither comfortable nor confident in right field, where he made a rare four-base error on Aug. 9, when a Nick Solak fly ball to the warning track popped out of his glove and over the wall at Texas, and missed a catchable fly ball in the first inning Sunday.

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Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor rookie card broke the previous record of $3.12 million for a 1909 Honus Wagner T-206 card.

“If you’re going to survive in the major leagues, you have to be able to put things like this behind you,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I think he’s a pretty tough kid, and he’ll have our support.”

Sunday’s game in the Oakland Coliseum was played under what Maddon described as “hazy, yellowish, smoky” skies caused by the fires burning in Northern California, but Maddon wasn’t sure if the conditions contributed to Adell’s miscue.

Marcus Semien led off the first with a shallow fly toward the line that Adell appeared to have a bead on. The outfielder hesitated at the last second and the ball dropped untouched.

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Angels starter Dylan Bundy retired the next two batters before Matt Chapman hit a run-scoring double and Mark Canha hit an RBI single for a 2-0 lead. Bundy struck out Robbie Grossman but needed 25 pitches to complete an inning that would have required 11 pitches without the error.

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani swings for a three-run home run.
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani swings for a three-run home run during the third inning Sunday.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

“I think it kind of faded more on him than he thought because I thought he was in good shape,” Maddon said of the Adell error. “It’s kind of like, he’s settling in and then, ‘Oops,’ I got a little bit more [to go]. I haven’t spoken to him about it yet, but that’s what I thought I saw from the dugout.”

The Angels rallied in the third when Shohei Ohtani crushed a 439-foot homer to left center for a 3-2 lead. Ohtani’s fifth homer of the season and first since Aug. 10 snapped a career-long 0-for-19 skid. The Angels made it 4-2 in the fifth when Brian Goodwin lined a two-out RBI single to right to snap an 0-for-20 slump.

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Oakland rallied with two out and no one on to tie the score at 4-4 in the sixth. Grossman doubled, Stephen Piscotty hit an RBI single and Tony Kemp reached on an infield single.

With Maddon ejected earlier in the inning for arguing a non-call on a checked swing, bench coach Mike Gallego summoned Mike Mayers to face No. 9 hitter Sean Murphy, who hit a grounder through the middle for an RBI single.

The Angels failed to advance the automatic runner from second in 10th, as Jason Castro popped out to second, Andrelton Simmons grounded out to third and David Fletcher flied out to right.

The Angels will play the Cleveland Indians in the MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., in August 2021.

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The A’s won in the bottom of the 10th when pinch-runner Franklin Barreto took third on Chapman’s sharp single to left off reliever Ty Buttrey and scored on Canha’s sacrifice fly to center.

The Angels went two for 12 with runners in scoring position and left two on base in five of 10 innings. They fell to 9-20, their worst 29-game start in franchise history, and 1-4 in extra-inning games.

“There’s a lot of things we got to get better at,” Maddon said. “We’ve got to somehow will that base hit, make the pitch to prevent the two-out RBI we’re permitting. Those are the little things. The biggest part is the little things, and we haven’t been good at them.”

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Highlights from Angels’ loss to the Athletics.

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Three takeaways for the Angels


  • A three-run homer that traveled 439 feet to left-center field in the third inning and a single to right off tough left-hander Jake Diekman in the seventh could be just what streaky hitter Shohei Ohtani needs to snap out of an eight-game slump in which he hit .067 (two for 30) with no homers and one RBI.
  • Dylan Bundy rebounded from his worst start of the season with a solid 5 2/3 inning effort in which he allowed two earned runs and seven hits, struck out six and walked one. He also survived a harrowing collision with second baseman David Fletcher while covering first base on Tony Kemp’s fourth-inning bunt.
  • Hansel Robles, who struck out two in a one-two-three eighth with the score tied, appears to have worked his way back into a high-leverage role. Since being demoted from his closer job in early August, the right-hander has allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings of seven games, striking out nine and walking one.

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