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Angels let Jose Suarez take his lumps

22-year-old LHP was optioned after his second straight short, ineffective start

Los Angeles Angels v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Angels are high on Jose Suarez, who’s still just 22 years old. So high on the left-hander, that they are letting him take his lumps at the big league level to continue his development in a year with no minor league season.

The education continued in the first game of a doubleheader against the Astros on Tuesday. Suarez allowed five runs in one-plus innings in a 6-3 Angels loss.

“He’s got a great arm, great stuff. The ball comes out hot,” Joe Maddon said on a conference call before Tuesday’s doubleheader. “He’s also very young and inexperienced. Only one way to grab that experience is to put them out there.”

Houston grabbed the reins of this game right away. Three straight singles in the first inning plated two runs, aided by an errant throw to first base by Suarez. Two walks and two singles followed in the frame, giving Houston a 5-0 lead.

Suarez opened the second inning with two walks in 10 pitches, and his day was done, amazingly shorter than his first start, when he only recorded four outs. He’s the fourth Angels pitcher to allow five runs while recording no more than four outs in consecutive starts, and the first once since Jason Dickson in 2000.

Suarez threw only half of his 40 pitches for strikes, and walked four of his 12 batters faced.

“I was trying to impress upon him the the kind of attack mentality that he needs, to not give the other guys so much credit, to get ahead in counts and to stay aggressive and assertive,” Maddon said. “He’s going to be a very good pitcher in this league someday. We’re trying to expedite that.”

For now, Suarez has a 7.99 ERA in 83⅓ major league innings, including 38.57 in two starts this year.

In between games of the doubleheader, the Angels optioned Suarez to the alternate training site, and recalled Luke Bard, giving them a fresh arm in the bullpen.

On the flip side, Jaime Barria was quite effective in relief of Suarez, allowing only one run in five innings, with four strikeouts. It was exactly the type of outing the Angels needed to give their rest of their bullpen some rest.

Because of off days Wednesday and Thursday this week and Tuesday next week, the Angels won’t need to use a fifth starter until September 5-6. When that time comes, Barria made a strong case it he should get the call over Suarez.

Game 1 particulars

Home run: Tommy La Stella (4)

WP — Cristian Javier (3-1): 5⅔ IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

LP — Jose Suarez (0-2): 1+ IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts

Sv — Ryan Pressly (4): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts

Up next

Game 2 of the doubleheader starts at 4:20 p.m. PT, with Julio Teheran starting for the Angels, against rookie right-hander Brandon Bielak.