ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It’s no easy thing for a baseball team to be rained out in Southern California -- which happens once every couple of decades or so -- then show up the next morning at the ballpark to find a police helicopter hovering mere yards above the outfield, its whirring blades serving as a drying instrument.
There’s a psychological toll to be paid. The White Sox, the last visiting team to be rained out of a game in Angel Stadium (1995), lost the next game they played on a walk-off hit by Gary DiSarcina -- the Fall River, Massachusetts, native and former Pawtucket manager -- and were beaten again the next night, too.
So it should have surprised no one, the swiftness with which the Boston Red Sox unraveled Monday afternoon against the Los Angeles Angels in an 11-1 defeat that was over shortly after the team bus pulled into the parking lot.
It was a toss-up over who looked more unsettled.
There was the rookie pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez, who was dismissed in the second inning after yielding seven runs, including eardrum-piercing home runs by Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols. Of the nine batters Rodriguez faced in the second, seven reached, with Johnny Giavotella hitting a two-run single before Calhoun unloaded on the next pitch, his third home run of the series and 13th of the season. Two batters later, Pujols connected for his 27th of the season, matching teammate Mike Trout for the team lead.
There was the left fielder, Hanley Ramirez, whose return to Southern California, where he played parts of three seasons for the Dodgers, fell somewhat short of an unqualified success. A day after Red Sox manager John Farrell said he was playing a better brand of defense, Ramirez butchered a Daniel Robertson liner during the Angels’ seven-run uprising that was scored a double. Through the first three games here, Ramirez, perhaps overcome by nostalgia for the Southland, is 0-for-10 with four K’s, a double play, a foul ball that caught him where he is most vulnerable and a bat that flew out of his hands past the third-base bag.
There was the third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, whose fourth-inning error led to four unearned runs, three coming on a three-run home run by David Freese, a blast onto the putting green in center field that was measured at 452 feet by the ESPN Stats & Information corps. The error was the second egregious misplay by the corpulent infielder, though he does have four hits in the series.
The rest of the lineup? Well, they did manage to score a run off Angels left-hander Hector Santiago after being blanked in the first two games of this series. A single by a hanging-by-a-thread Mike Napoli scored David Ortiz in the fourth.
But the 14 whiffs by Angels pitchers in a game that devolved into a spring training exercise, with multiple substitutions by both sides, matched a season high for L.A. pitchers.
And in less than a couple of hours, they get to do it all over again. Counselors are on standby.