Bullpen Falters as Angels Drop Second in a Row

By Michael Hllywa

The Angels came into this four game set in Oakland 11 games behind the AL West lead in A’s. As far back as they are in the standings, winning the series would have been a huge statement in showing that they weren’t going to go quietly into the night. As it stands, if they win tomorrow, they will be in the same place they were when they came to town; 11 games behind the AL West leading Athletics.

The Angels are 10-15 now when a left hander is on the mound against them, but it seems like it should be a lot worse. All the same, Garrett Richards did better than anyone could have expected in his first start since April 30th. He only went five innings, but he allowed no runs while striking out four. Turning it over to the bullpen with a slim 1-0 lead provided by Josh Hamilton‘s 15th home run of the season.

That home run in the second inning by Hamilton would be the only blemish against Tommy Milone. The Athletics young lefty would go seven innings and strike out six this afternoon. He left the game in line to lose, but never count the Angels bullpen out when it comes to giving away games.

Dane De La Rosa didn’t allow any runs while he was on the mound for 1.1 innings, but he would be charged with one. With lefty Stephen Vogt due up in the seventh, and Josh Reddick on second, Mike Scioscia went back to the pen and summoned Scott Downs to finish the seventh. Downs hadn’t allowed a run in 29 consecutive appearances, one shy of the Angels record, but Bob Melvin knew better then to send a lefty to the plate against Downs. He called back Vogt and sent up Derek Norris who sent the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a two-run home run giving the A’s a 2-1 lead. Jed Lowrie‘s RBI double later in the inning made it 3-1, but the two were enough.

After that, the only Angel to reach base was Mike Trout. The other six hitters that came to the plate went down quietly, and Grant Balfour got to his obnoxious rage act as he secured his 28th save of the season.

You could blame this game on the bullpen, or you could blame it on the offense. Bottom line, the Angels needed to do better then split this series in Oakland, and that’s not happening now. They close out the four game set tomorrow when they send Tommy Hanson to the mound to face Jarrod Parker in the finale. Game time is at 1:05 PM PST. Light up the fail-o, light the chance to make a little more noise before we close up shop on fire.