The Los Angeles Angels had one of their more disappointing losses of the season, falling to the lowly Washington Nationals 6-4 at home. The Angels are now 5-5 on the season.
On the mound to start the game was Jose Suarez, who was coming off of a brutal start in Seattle. Suarez fared well against bad teams last season, so this was a good chance for him to bounce back. The box score suggests he did not, and he definitely wasn't at his best, but I think he was better than his final line dictates.
LA Angels pitching is not to blame for ugly loss to Nationals
Jose Suarez allowed four runs (somehow all earned) on ten hits, walking one and striking out just two over four innings. The line, obviously, is not a good one. I still think he got particularly unlucky in this one.
The Angels had 10 of the 11 hardest hit balls in this game. They were all hit 99.2 mph or harder. Of those ten, six of them went for outs. The Nationals did not hit a single home run, and of their 14 total hits, 12 of them were singles. They had two doubles all night, one of them off of Suarez and the other off of Tucker Davidson in relief.
So Jose Suarez allowed nine singles in four innings of work. Of those singles, four of them were hit under 90 mph. The double Washington hit was clocked at 81 mph off the bat. The Angels allowed a ton of soft hits yesterday while their hard-hit balls just weren't falling. It's frustrating, but that's baseball. What was in their control was their horrific defense, and I think that and the fact that they didn't have a hit after the third inning was to blame for this loss.
Brandon Drury had played just 33 complete games at first base in the big leagues in his entire career heading into this season. He looked inexperienced at the position last night. In the fifth inning, with runners on the corners and one out, he opted to attempt to turn a 3-6-3 double play with a fast runner in C.J. Abrams at the plate who had hit a ball slowly instead of going home with it. That gave Washington a 5-4 lead.
Later in the game in the seventh inning, the Angels nearly turned two when Washington had runners on first and second with one out but the runner was safe at first and Dominic Smith, who had started at second base, scored because Brandon Drury just froze after the runner was called safe at first. Drury cost the Angels two runs, and the team lost by two. That's still not all.
Luis Rengifo had the worst play of the night, committing what I felt was two errors, fumbling the ball at second base after fielding it and then throwing it away, allowing the runners to move up to second and third. The inning should have been over, but instead, Washington came up with a two-run single the next batter and tied the game at four.
Was Jose Suarez at his best? Absolutely not. Was he at fault for all four of the runs he allowed? Absolutely not. Was Tucker Davidson responsible for the runs he allowed? Nope. The Angels win this game if they do anything right defensively. They shot themselves in the foot and took an ugly loss at the hands of a bad team.