It was the thrill of a lifetime for Tyler Chatwood to stand on the Angel Stadium mound Monday night, with dozens of family members and friends in the house, an experience the 21-year-old right-hander described as "great, awesome."
There was one little problem, though.
"I couldn't feel my body in that first inning," Chatwood said after his major league debut. "There's a lot of adrenaline going through you. You try to control it."
By the time Chatwood found his bearings, the Cleveland Indians had scored four runs and hit two home runs in the first two innings.
"Early in the game he got into a lot of hitting counts," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Chatwood. "The ball was coming out of his hand nicely. He spun the ball well. But he couldn't get the ball in good zones early, and it certainly hurt him in the second inning."
The eighth pitch of Chatwood's big league career was crushed over the center-field wall by Asdrubal Cabrera for a home run in the first inning, and the former Redlands East Valley High standout gave up three runs in the second on Matt LaPorta's three-run homer to right field.
But Chatwood, who had thrown only 62/3 innings above the double-A level before Monday, settled down, giving up no hits over his final three innings.
Chatwood did walk the bases loaded with one out in the fifth inning, and up stepped No. 3 batter Shin-Soo Choo. Francisco Rodriguez was ready in the bullpen, but Scioscia stuck with Chatwood for reasons he hinted at before the game.
"He's a make-up guy," Scioscia said. "If he's going to get beat, it's not going to be because he is intimidated or trying too hard."
Chatwood got Choo to ground into an inning-ending double play. His final line: five innings, four runs, four hits, four walks and three strikeouts. Of his 90 pitches, only 46 were strikes.
"You want to give a guy a chance to pitch out of his jams, and if he does, it might be something to build on," Scioscia said. "We lost the game, but that's a small battle that might give him confidence as he moves forward."
The Angels did nothing against Talbot, a sinker-ball specialist who didn't look overpowering but struck out four, walked two, induced 13 ground-ball outs and allowed only two runners to reach second base.
The Rally Monkey made his usual appearances in the eighth and ninth innings. The Angels should have called in a Rally Gorilla or Rally King Kong.
"He wasn't doing anything real fancy," Scioscia said of Talbot. "He had a little sink and a little cut on his fastball, he changed speeds well. We didn't square many balls up."
Especially Vernon Wells. The left fielder was hitless in four at-bats and is four for 44 (.091) with 12 strikeouts this season and one for 26 in his last six games.
"I don't think his pitch selection is that bad, but his timing is off," Scioscia said. "He's been getting caught in between. He's behind on some pitches and too anxious on others.
"Vernon is very important to us. We have to do what's best to get him going, and if he needs a day off, we'll certainly consider it. He's an important part of what we believe will be a deep lineup."