ANAHEIM — The Wheel of Misery landed on the attack of the Angels on Wednesday night.
Every part of the team has failed on certain nights during this miserable period, but the batters were most responsible for their franchise-record 14th consecutive loss, a 1-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
The Angels lost seven times during the streak.
“They all hurt,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “No loss is nice. But we compete. We are in every game. The narrative, one-run games, you’re talking about our ‘pen’, but our ‘pen was excellent today. Theirs was a pitch better.”
The Angels wasted effective pitching from starter Reid Detmers and relievers Archie Bradley, Jimmy Herget, Andrew Wantz and José Quijada.
Herget gave up a run in the sixth and that was all it took to continue their mind-numbing streak.
It wasn’t a big surprise, as the Angels’ lineup was without Mike Trout, who suffers from a strained hamstring on a daily basis. Taylor Ward and Anthony Rendon are both on the injured list. Even Luis Rengifo, who has had a few productive moments lately, was absent as he was placed on the paternity list on Wednesday.
The patchwork lineup couldn’t even get a runner to third base, despite the mojo fix attempted by having each batter come to the plate on a different song by prolific Canadian rock band Nickelback.
“I like Nickelback,” Nevin said. “I had songs in my head the whole game. … It was neat, for a while.”
Their best chance against starter Nathan Eovaldi came in the second, when Juan Lagares and Brandon Marsh started the inning with back-to-back singles. The next three batters — Jack Mayfield, Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Wade — made outs that didn’t even move the runners, let alone drive them in.
Down with a run in the seventh, Suzuki was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Nevin called on Max Stassi, one of his best hitters, to squeeze when the Red Sox brought in lefty Jake Diekman. Stassi grounded into a double play on the first pitch.
On the upside, Detmers continued to show gradual improvement after the two-start hiccup that followed his no-hitter.
Detmers gave up eight runs in 9-2/3 innings in his first two starts after his no-hitter on May 10. Since then, he has faced the New York Yankees and Red Sox without conceding a run in 8-2/3 innings.
While that’s definitely an improvement, he’s still struggling with his pitch counts, preventing him from getting deeper into games.
“I thought he threw the ball great,” Nevin said. “We use too many fields to cross the finish line with him. And that’s why we don’t get past the fifth and sixth. He’s a young guy. He was at university eighteen months ago. He learns to pitch here. These are valuable experiences for him. These are valuable games for him to go through such lineups that are really really good. He’s just going to get better with every start, as we’ve seen. There will be hiccups every now and then, but when he gets the ball I think everyone there has a lot of confidence.”
Against the Red Sox, Detmers walked two batters, hit a batter and gave up three hits, while noting only 13 outs. While two of the singles were infield-hits, he was pulled after Christian Arroyo jerked a double down the leftfield-line.
That was the end of the night for Detmers, who left a jam for Archie Bradley with the middle of the Boston order. Bradley got Christian Vazquez on a ground ball, then struckout JD Martinez.
The Angels’ pitchers ended up making just one costly mistake – Herget dropped a fastball over the middle of the plate and Bobby Dalbec hit it for an RBI double – but that was too much for the Angels to win.
It has now been over two weeks since they won a match. While the results were poor, Nevin – as Joe Maddon said before – said the attitude was good.
“They come to the field every day, ready to play,” Nevin said. “They like to be here. They like coming here and want to participate. We’ll say it until we get one. Hopefully it’s tomorrow. We’re going to get one of these W’s, I think we’ll run with it.”