Mike Trout exits game as Angels’ skid grows to 13 with 10-inning loss to Red Sox
As if things weren’t bad enough for the Angels, they got worse.
It happened when the Angels’ losing streak hit 10, and 11, and 12, and when the superhuman Mike Trout went a mortal 0 for 26, and when the Angels announced Tuesday they were firing even-keel manager Joe Maddon for a change in voice.
Then Trout walked off with left groin tightness after a third-inning double in Tuesday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox, and suddenly it felt like things could get a whole lot worse.
The Angels desperately needed a victory, but none was forthcoming in a 6-5, 10-inning heartbreaker.
Unlucky number 13, matching the longest losing streak in franchise history.
Trout said he “felt a little cramp” while running on the double, telling interim manager Phil Nevin, “I need to be a little careful with this,” per Nevin.
“This isn’t nothing crazy,” Trout said after the game. “I just need to be smart about it.”
Still, it’s a sobering sight for Angels fans, considering the superstar center fielder missed most of last year with a calf strain and hasn’t played more than 140 games in any of the past five seasons.
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Trout was doing some serious slump-busting Tuesday; after seeing daylight in the first game of the Red Sox series with a single and a walk, he sent a two-run shot just over the center field wall off right-hander Garrett Whitlock to score Shohei Ohtani in the first inning.
The third-inning double raised his average to .284 but cost him the rest of the game.
“We’ll see how I feel in the morning,” Trout said. “There’s no scan or MRI or anything.”
Called up from triple-A to start, José Suarez scuffled in the second inning, as an RBI groundout by Boston’s Christian Arroyo and subsequent singles from Bobby Dalbec and Kiké Hernandez brought home three runs. Suarez settled down from there, though, working his way back from a Christian Vazquez leadoff double in the fourth inning to set down three straight and cap a pair of scoreless frames.
In the fifth inning, with a runner on first and two outs, Nevin trotted to the mound, seemingly poised to remove Suarez with a 4-3 lead.
But Nevin simply wanted to talk to the young pitcher. When Nevin reached the mound, he said, he saw in Suarez’s face that the 24-year-old left-hander wanted the next hitter. So the manager told him to empty the tank, gave him two firm chest pats, turned on his heels and walked back to the dugout.
Five pitches later, Suarez painted a 2-and-2 fastball to punch out Trevor Story, turning to pump his fist and roar.
“Yeah, baby!” Nevin seemed to yell as the TV broadcast cut to the dugout, the newly minted manager adding his own fist-pump.
“Pretty cool to see Suarez deliver,” Trout said with a wide smile when asked about Nevin’s mound visit. “Just trusting your guys. Pretty cool.”
It was a risky decision that can only further endear Nevin to an Angels clubhouse that, as reliever Archie Bradley said, seems to feel he’s the right guy to “get this thing turned around.”
“There’s just something about his demeanor that makes guys really want to play hard and play for him,” Bradley said.
A former No. 1 overall draft pick and All-Star third baseman with the San Diego Padres, Nevin worked his way up to manager for a couple triple-A teams before serving as the third-base coach for the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and most recently Angels. General manager Perry Minasian, who expressed feelings in a pregame press conference that the string of losses necessitated a “different voice,” said Nevin had an “edge” to him.
Nevin, who’d been gunning for a major league managerial shot since his minor league days, always imagined his appointment would be a glorious day. He could picture himself at that introductory press conference, happily greeting media. He could picture himself in the clubhouse, giving his players and staff members a pat on the back.
Sitting beside Minasian on Tuesday to announce he was replacing Maddon wasn’t the happy reception Nevin envisioned.
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“He told me to just take this and run with it and be the person that I am, which I plan to do,” Nevin said of Maddon.
But just when it seemed like the Angels finally would earn a break under their new manager, the Red Sox scored in the sixth and seventh off Oliver Ortega and Ryan Tepera, respectively, to tie the game.
A ninth-inning leadoff double by Tyler Wade was wasted, and Nevin’s decision to put in long reliever Jaime Barría in the 10th inning burned him, as Christian Vazquez knocked in the eventual game-winning run with a single.
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