The Angels side of the scorecard continued to look empty for the fifth consecutive game as they scored just one or less runs for the fifth time in their last six games. With optimism heading into the road trip, the Halos stumbled out of the gates in game one going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and having the final 13 batters retired consecutively by Rangers relievers.
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly Chris Rodriguez. Making his first career start, the Florida native did not dodge the spotlight as he made his presence known early and often in his return to an Angels uniform for the first time since June 20. Rodriguez sent the Rangers down in order in the first inning, capping it off with a strikeout of All-Star outfielder Adolis Garcia. The righty navigated through tough luck in the second inning as the Rangers struck first on a passed ball off the glove of Max Stassi, which is uncharacteristic for the catcher who currently holds a .995 fielding percentage.
By pitching in a starter’s role instead of the bullpen, Rodriguez was able to broaden his pitch arsenal and especially feature the sinker, slider combination that he relies on heavily. With the second inning hiccup in the rearview mirror, Rodriguez settled in pitching back to back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth.
An unlucky break plagued the Angels in the bottom of the fifth as Stassi yielded the lead to Texas for good. He was caught in between a double steal, allowing Brock Holt to slide home before the return throw from Jose Iglesias failed to tag Isiah Kiner-Falefa out at second base. If the out was recorded, the Angels escape the inning without any damage and the score still tied at one apiece.
The night would come to a close for Rodriguez in the top of the seventh after back-to-back hits from Jason Martin and Curtis Terry. His 86-pitch performance matched a career long outing that he had not accomplished since back in the minors.
No matter how you break down his performance, Rodriguez’s poise and control was evident throughout. His final line stood at six-plus innings pitched, allowing four runs (three earned) while striking out seven and walking just two. The most impressive stat for the night was 39% of his pitches either being called strikes or whiffed. The MLB average is around 28%, which made this feat eye-popping especially since baseball today sees the ball put into play more often.
With the loss, the Angels stumble to 7.5 games out of a wild-card spot with Oakland having Monday off. To add insult to injury, they fall to 17-30 (.361) against teams within the AL West. In game two versus Texas tomorrow, the Angels will send lefty Jose Suarez to the hill in search of snapping their two-game losing streak.
- Max Stassi extends his hitting streak to seven games with a fourth inning single
- Jo Adell was originally scheduled to start tonight after his call-up, but was scratched due to arriving at the ballpark late from a crazy flight schedule
- Shohei Ohtani felt good after his bullpen session this afternoon and was named the starting pitcher for Wednesday’s game.
- Dylan Bundy has also been tabbed for his second consecutive start in the finale against Texas Thursday morning