Angels falter against Orioles as pitching issues mount
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.
It was like Murphy’s law in action. Just about everything that could go wrong for the team, did.
Before Wednesday’s game, the Angels put three pitchers on the injured list, including two for apparent COVID-related reasons.
Fernando Valenzuela made two starts with the Angels in 1991. And while he didn’t pitch well, he proved to himself he still belonged in the majors.
They joined Jose Marte, who also went on the IL on Sunday without a designation.
Though the Angels didn’t publicly specify the reason for either of the three players’ absences, IL stints without a designation have commonly been a signal of COVID-19 protocol-related issues this season.
Teams are required to have player consent before disclosing any such issues.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Detmers, Warren and Marte are all vaccinated against COVID-19. The Angels are also one of 23 MLB teams to have at least 85% of their Tier 1 personnel (including players, coaches and others in direct contact with them) vaccinated.
Still, when asked afterward if he feels as if the Angels have the behind-the-scenes situation under control, 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.”
The Angels ran into trouble on the field Wednesday, too.
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani had a rare off night, giving up three home runs in a five-inning, four-run start and also going hitless with three strikeouts at the plate.
The Angels did lead 6-2 midway through the fourth, keyed by five RBIs and Brandon Marsh’s first career home run.
But the Orioles responded, stopping their losing streak with a five-run outburst in the eighth inning.
Jake Petricka, one of two relievers the Angels recalled in Wednesday afternoon’s roster shuffle, failed to retire each of the first four batters in the inning, eventually walking in the tying run with a bases-loaded walk.
James Hoyt entered from the bullpen but also issued a run-scoring walk that put the Orioles in front 7-6. Then Austin Hays blew the game open with a two-run double, cementing his club’s first victory since Aug. 2.
The Indians complete a sweep of the Angels despite a hit and two walks from Shohei Ohtani.
For the Angels, only more uncertainty lies ahead. The team didn’t say when Detmers, Warren or Marte might be back. In the meantime, it will operate with key holes in its rotation and bullpen.
“There’s so many unknowns right now,” Maddon said. “It’s very difficult to tell you exactly how I think this is going to play out.”
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