Angels 0 Royals 1
Well, that makes it five in a row. The second consecutive loss that was much more painful than the first three, due to how close the Halos were to actually pulling away with a W. Alas, it was just a mirage, and we’d have to swallow a tough, bitter pill on this Easter Sunday. But still, this game DID have a reason to jump for joy, and be grateful.
That reason’s name is Tyler Skaggs.
Today was exactly what the doctor ordered for Tyler Skaggs (figuratively speaking, of course, but with Skaggs’ injury and rehab history, it never hurts to clarify). It was Skaggs’ second time ever starting in the Royals’ home, and it went fairly similar to the first one...which is to say, he didn’t give up any runs and he looked mighty good out there.
Skaggs had a few jams, but for the most part, he was sterling, not only completing the rare 2017 Angels feat of finishing six innings on the mound, but he was the FIRST Halos hurler to work in the seventh inning. That is one sad, sorry accomplishment to have to announce, sure, but that’s a discussion on the state of the starting rotation for another day. We can instead focus on the fact that Skaggs did it, and that’s awesome.
So, he went the illusive 7 IP, while giving up just FOUR hits and striking out NINE Kansas City batters. That tied his career best for most Ks in a game. Most importantly, however, is that he allowed ZERO runs. When you couple those seven scoreless innings with his first Kauffman Stadium performance, you have 14 scoreless innings total. The only other pitcher to do that in their first two starts at Kauffman was Mike Sirotka.
Tyler Skaggs was out there making history today, while also tying career-bests and giving the Angels the best start of the 2017 season. It was also the first time he’d thrown 100+ pitches (he threw 103) since July 25 2014! In the boxscore, it looked like a studly performance; everywhere but the W-L column, but that wasn’t his fault. More on that in a second.
No, today, Skaggs looked awesome, and he has to be feeling good about that right now. That is something that wont show up in the boxscore, but it’s equally important; Skaggs gained a boatload of confidence this afternoon, and we’re going to need endless supply of that from here on out. But I think it’s safe to say...well, I HOPE it’s safe to say...that Tyler Skaggs is feeling good, and he’s got some dealing to do now.
So, about those bats. Isn’t it quintessential Angels baseball to finally get a great start from the starting pitcher, but then they get completely blanked and rocked by opposing pitching? Yes. Yes, it is.
Ian Kennedy looked like a Cy Young winner out there, but that was probably more on the Halos than it was his doing. The Angels were just lost at the dish, and it’s a shame, too, that it happened on such a momentous day for the pitching. I mean, even Jose Alvarez, Blake Parker and Cam Bedrosian pitched in solid efforts to keep things close.
But nope, the Angels couldn’t do jack with the bat...of course, it’s not like the Royals did a ton with the lumber, either. It took a single, a walk, a wild pitch and a liner to center to drive home the lone run of the game; it was the game winner, and it came in the bottom of the 9th.
Frustration has set in these past couple games in KC, but it has shifted from the pitching to the hitting. If it’s not one thing, it’s the other, right? Such is baseball.
At the very least, in the midst of this horrid five-game losing streak, I can take solace in knowing that we’ve seen some legit pitching these past two nights, from Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs moreso than Shoemaker, obviously, but there was a lot to like in terms of giving me hope that these starters will eventually get going.
Of course, then the bats will have to be alive, and the eternal Halos’ Issues whack-a-mole game rolls on unabided.
Today, though, we have that Skaggs start. That was cool. Happy Easter, everybody.