Angels Manager Mike Scioscia’s frustration with his team’s inability to control the running game boiled over after an 8-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night, first in a team meeting with his players and then with the media.
The Rangers had six stolen bases, one shy of the Angels’ club record for stolen bases allowed in a game, and five of them led to runs. The Angels have allowed a major-league-high 94 stolen bases this season.
Chris Iannetta had another rough night behind the plate and has thrown out only 11 of 82 base-stealers this season for a 13.4% success rate. But Scioscia did not blame his catcher for Tuesday night’s problems.
“This is not on Chris at all -- he’s throwing well,” Scioscia said. “This is about the inability of some of our pitchers to make adjustments. The reality of it is, if this is going to become an instructional league, we have to make some changes, because guys up here need to do a better job.”
Scioscia said Tuesday night starter Garrett Richards, who allowed three stolen bases, has “made great strides holding runners.” Relievers Kevin Jepsen, Nick Maronde and Ernesto Frieri, who yielded three stolen bases, apparently have not.
“Some guys are in poor rhythm, some have a high leg kick, some have the same rhythm, where runners are getting jumps,” Scioscia said. “As much as we’ve worked on it, some guys are having trouble making adjustments.”
The Rangers snapped a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning when Elvis Andrus singled off Jepsen, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on Adrian Beltre’s single.
Texas took advantage of first baseman Kole Calhoun’s error to score four insurance runs in the ninth, three coming on RBI singles off struggling closer Frieri, who has allowed 12 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of his last seven appearances for a 23.14 earned-run average.
The bullpen has combined to go 1-7 with five blown saves and a 7.31 ERA (26 runs in 32 innings) in the last 12 games, but Frieri, whose season ERA has risen to 4.79, is bearing the brunt of it.
“Ernie is making some strides with his breaking ball, but his ability to get the fastball into good zones with late life isn’t there,” Scioscia said. “His confidence is shaken right now, but he’ll get it back. It’s a rough time for him. It seems like he’s hitting a lot of bats. He’ll get through it.”