ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When a team is fighting for a wild-card spot in mid-August, any loss is, by definition, bad news. But a 7-0 loss to Rays, whom the Angels happen to be chasing in that race, on a night when the A’s -- a divisional rival also being chased -- won, cranks up the “bummer” factor threefold. Plus, that whole “can barely reach base, much less score” thing leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. And while everyone is certainly happy for pitcher Steven Geltz making his big league debut, that’s likely not enough to offset the bigger picture.
Alberto Callaspo: Remember that movie “Multiplicity,” in which Michael Keaton clones four versions of himself to keep up with the responsibilities of a hectic work life and home life? Well, the Angels needed to give Callaspo the same treatment, but nine times over, since he was among the only guys capable of hitting Rays lefty David Price.
The lone multihit Halo, his first of two hits was a two-out double to briefly extend the second inning. Unfortunately, Vernon Wells proceeded to strand Callaspo with a fly out to right. I’d say this was the story of the Angels’ life tonight, except they didn’t have enough baserunners for the metaphor to work.
Scattered defense: At the top of the broadcast, it was noted that upon his 38th start in left field, Vernon Wells has yet to make an error. Immediately, you’re thinking “jinx!!!” Instead, Wells upped the ante in the third inning with a sliding backhanded grab, robbing Carlos Pena of a perhaps a multiple-base hit.
Later, Howie Kendrick stretched high for a backhanded grab to snag a shallow-center bloop and rob poor Pena of yet another hit.
Jerome Williams: Yeah, a fifth-frame breaking pitch clearly didn’t fool Evan Longoria and resulted in a two-run homer to center. But the game was already out of hand and that one pitch accounted for the only hit surrendered over 4.1 innings. Factor in the six strikeouts, and the hurler did a very nice job in long relief.
Dan Haren: The starter’s first frame featured three batters faced, but also 18 pitches, which isn’t the most efficient pace. In other words, there were signs his night could move in two directions. Unfortunately, the answer was: south.
Small problems began in the second inning with a solo shot surrendered to Ben Zobrist on a 2-2 meatball served right up the middle. The third baseman couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity, nor did he waste it. Still, Haren shook off the mistake well enough to avoid damage for the remainder of that frame and the next.
But the fourth inning was a killer.
Another solo shot kicked off the proceedings, this time a fastball left up for B.J. Upton to crush into left field. Four additional singles in succession, followed by a sacrifice to center resulted in a quartet of runs added to Haren’s résumé. Throughout the stretch, Haren continually left pitches where he shouldn’t, and Rays batters might as well have been playing T-ball. After Jose Molina -- the eighth batter of the inning -- singled to right and put men on the corners, Mike Scioscia decided he’d seen enough. Jerome Williams was summoned to clean up the mess, and Haren was left to sit in the dugout to ponder his second consecutive start torched by the inability to finish the fourth inning.
No runs/five hits: Coming into tonight’s game, the 17 combined runs Tuesday and Wednesday against Cleveland felt like a cause for celebration. Now they serve as a cautionary tale about the failure to pace oneself.
David Price: As in, David Price was a bad, bad man this evening.