Mike Trout is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the 3rd inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 6, 2016 (Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images)
If you’re a regular LA Angels Insider reader, you may have noticed a slight change in our daily postings recently. Due to a change in my schedule, I’m no longer able to put up the detailed game previews every day anymore. Fortunately, our founder Ryan W. Krol has been able to post the lineups along with a feature where you can follow the score in real-time right here at LA Angels Insider, which I think is really cool.
Even though my new schedule is forcing me to cut down on my writing for LA Angels Insider, I still enjoy doing it and I still want to contribute, so Ryan and I have decided to launch a new feature – the Angels Week In Review. This will be a feature I’ll post every Monday during the season that will recap everything Angels that happened the week before, both on and off the field. During the off-season I’ll do an Angels Month In Review feature where we’ll look at all the hot stove action on a monthly basis.
But, enough of that….let’s get on to the action! Here’s what happened in Angel Land last week:
Week Start: 47-58, T-4th AL West
Week End: 49-62, 4th AL West
Week W-L: 2-4
Monday August 1, 2016 – No Game – Non-Waiver Trade Deadline
Mike Scioscia and Billy Eppler pose for a photo during a press conference introducing Eppler as the new Angels GM on October 5, 2015 (Nick Ut/AP Photo)
Off the field: Monday was a big day off the field for the Angels, as Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline loomed at 4pm ET (1pm PT). The Angels hadn’t made any significant trades leading up to deadline day, but when deadline day finally came Angels GM Billy Eppler – in his first season as Angels GM – pulled the trigger on two significant trades.
This first trade involved sending veteran MLB RP Joe Smith to the Cubs in exchange for A-Advanced SP Jesus Castillo. In making this trade, the Angels were simply trying to get something in return for Smith, whose 3 year, $15.75M contract expires at the end of the season. Given Smith’s age (32) and the fact that he is posting career-worst numbers in almost every category this year, the Angels were lucky to get anything in return for him. In Castillo the Angels picked up a 20 year-old righty with a lot of potential.
Eppler also pulled off another big trade just before the deadline on Monday when he sent MLB SP Hector Santiago and AAA RP Alan Busenitz to Minnesota for MLB SP Ricky Nolasco, AAA SP/RP Alex Meyer, and $6.3M of Nolasco’s remaining salary. This one was a bit of a head-scratcher for most Angel fans, as on the surface it just looks like the Angels traded Santiago for a guy in Nolasco who is older and more expensive, and probably a downgrade in the rotation. Diving a little deeper into the details on this one, the $6.3M the Twins are sending the Angels to cover Nolasco’s salary breaks down to $2.3M this year to cover the difference between the remaining salaries of Santiago & Nolasco, and $4M next year. That leaves the Angels responsible for $8M of Nolasco’s 2017 salary – which is likely similar to what they would have had to pay Santiago in arbitration. Also, should the Angels choose to decline Nolasco’s $12M club option for 2018, Minnesota will be responsible for the $1M buyout.
Even though the Twins evened out the money for the Angels, it still makes little sense to trade the younger Santiago for the older Nolasco. To explain the trade, Angels GM Billy Eppler said that the jewel of this trade for him is Meyer. Meyer is a big 6-foot, 9-inch right hander who can touch 100 MPH on the radar gun with a “big league slider” to go with it. His problem so far has been his control, but Eppler believes in Meyer’s raw ability and was willing to sacrifice quite a bit to get it.
On the Field: The Angels had an off-day Monday.
Tuesday August 2, 2016 – Angels Win!
Off the Field: The Angels officially activated RHP Ricky Nolasco and optioned RHP Alex Meyer to AAA Salt Lake. The Angels also activated IF Cliff Pennington from the 60-day DL and placed RHP Huston Street on the 15-day DL retroactive to August 1 with right knee inflammation. The Angels also recalled RHP Mike Morin to take Joe Smith‘s roster spot.
On the Field – Angels Win! Beat the A’s 5-4: The Angels kicked off a 3-game midweek set against Oakland at the Big-A Tuesday night pitting righty Matt Shoemaker up against the A’s lefty Sean Manaea. The A’s opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd when Khris Davis connected for a solo blast to put the A’s up 1-0. They would take a 2-0 lead when Coco Crisp added a solo shot of his own in the top of the 5th. Then in the bottom of the 5th, Jett Bandy connected on his own home run, this time with a runner on to put the Angels on the board and tie the game up at 2.
The Angels caught a break in the bottom of the 6th however, as with no outs and a runner on, Albert Pujols smacked what looked like a tailor-made double play ball right to short, but A’s shortstop Marcus Semien mishandled it, and by the time he got control of it everyone was safe. Two pitches later, Jefry Marte sent a Manaea offering deep into the left-field seats for a 3-run bomb that gave the Angels a 5-2 lead. The A’s pulled a little closer in the top of the 8th when Yonder Alonso drilled a J.C. Ramirez pitch over the right field wall to make it 5-4, but that would conclude the scoring on the night as Cam Bedrosian came in for the 9th and earned his first career save in place of the injured Huston Street.
WP: Shoemaker (6-11), LP: Manaea (3-6), SV: Bedrosian (1)
Wednesday August 3, 2016 – Angels Win! Pujols Walkoff!
Off the Field: The Angels released OF Craig Gentry. Gentry had been designated for assignment on 7/30. Gentry was originally signed to a 1 year, $1M contract during the off-season with the plan to platoon him with Daniel Nava in LF. Unfortunately Gentry’s season has been plagued with injuries as he’s only made it into 14 games for the Angels all season. Gentry now becomes a free agent, but the Angels are on the hook for the remainder of his salary this season, minus a prorated portion of the MLB minimum salary should he sign with another club before the season ends.
On the Field – Angels Win! Beat the A’s 8-6: The middle game of the 3-game set between the Angels & A’s featured a matchup of righties Kendall Graveman and Jered Weaver. Neither pitcher had what we’d call a stellar outing, as each team matched each other run-for-run through the first 4 innings as each team scored single runs in the 2nd & 3rd inning, then both teams put up 2-spots in the 4th. By the end of the 4th inning the score was tied 4-4. Weaver was able to put together shut down innings in the 5th & 6th, but Graveman was not able to do the same. The Angels took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 5th inning on a RBI double by Pujols, and a RBI groundout by Ji-Man Choi.
The Angels held onto their 6-4 lead until the top of the 8th. That’s when Ramirez issued a bases loaded walk to Jed Lowrie to cut the Angels lead to 6-5. Then in the top of the 9th Bedrosian wasn’t able to lock down his 2nd save as a Stephen Vogt RBI single tied the game at 6 and sent the game to the bottom of the 9th inning. Fortunately Albert Pujols saved the day with a dramatic walk-off 2-run home run to win the game 8-6!
WP: Morin (2-1), LP: Dull (5-3)
Thursday August 4, 2016 – Angels Lose
Off the Field: C Geovany Soto began a rehab assignment for AAA Salt Lake. OF Daniel Nava cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to AAA Salt Lake after being designated for assignment on 7/30. This means Nava remains part of the Angel organization but is no longer on the 40-man roster.
On the Field: Angels Lose. A’s beat Angels 8-6: Thusday’s series finale against Oakland featured the Angel debut of the newly acquired Ricky Nolasco as he went up against A’s righty Jesse Hahn. Nolasco started out strong, giving up just a couple of solo homers through the first 3 innings while the Angels jumped on Hahn for 5 runs – including a 3-run HR by Ji-Man Choi – over the first 3 innings and held a 5-2 lead heading into the 4th. That’s when things unraveled a bit for Nolasco as he ended up giving up 3 runs in the inning – including one that came in on a wild pitch – to allow the A’s to tie things up at 5 after 4 innings.
After the A’s scored another run in the 7th and the Angels answered with one of their own in the 8th, the game ended up tied at 6 after nine innings, meaning the 34,196 in attendance at the Big-A were treated to some free baseball. Unfortunately it wasn’t much free baseball, as Mike Morin would give up a pair of 2-out runs in the top of the 10th and the Angel offense couldn’t answer back, sending the Angels to a 8-6, 10-inning loss.
WP: Madson (4-4), LP: Morin (2-2), SV: Dull (2)
Friday August 5, 2016 – Angels Lose
Off the Field: The Angels made no roster moves Friday.
On the Field: Angels Lose. Mariners beat Angels 6-4: Friday night’s game at Safeco Field in Seattle not only kicked off a 3-game set between the Angels & Mariners and a long 9-game road trip for the Angels, but it also kicked off “Ken Griffey, Jr. Weekend” at Safeco Field, as the newly enshrined Hall of Fame outfielder was honored by having his jersey #24 retired in Seattle.
As for Friday night’s game, it featured a matchup of former Cy Young Award winners in Tim Lincecum for the Angels, and Felix Hernandez for the Mariners. Back in the 2010-2012 timeframe this would have been a marquee pitching matchup, but these days both starters are struggling, and Lincecum much more than Hernandez. Nonetheless, the struggles of both men were on display in the very first inning, as the score was 6-3 Seattle after just one inning. Mike Trout got the Angels’ scoring under way with a 3-run bomb in the top of the first, but Lincecum couldn’t hold down the 3-run lead and gave up 6 runs on 7 hits in the bottom of the inning.
Lincecum wouldn’t allow any more runs after the 1st, but could only manage to get through 3 1/3 innings before his pitch count got away from him thereby forcing the Angel bullpen to absorb the remaining 4 2/3 innings. Fortunately the Angel bullpen absorbed those innings without allowing any more runs, but the Angel offense only managed to tack on one more run on a Jett Bandy solo homer in the 5th, so the Angels dropped the series opener 6-4.
WP: Hernandez (6-4), LP: Lincecum (2-6), SV: Diaz (3)
Saturday August 6, 2016 – Angels Lose
Off the Field: The Angels designated SP Tim Lincecum for assignment. This means Lincecum was immediately placed on waivers and will remain there until either he is claimed or 47 hours pass without a claim. If he clears waivers he will then have the option of accepting an assignment to AAA off the 40-man roster, or becoming a free agent. Lincecum’s tenure with the Angels obviously did not go well as he posted a 9.16 ERA over 38 1/3 innings in just 9 starts. Friday’s 6-run, 3 1/3 inning performance was apparently the last straw for the Angels. RP Jose Valdez was recalled from AAA Salt Lake to replace Lincecum on the roster.
On the Field: Angels Lose – Mariners beat Angels 8-6: Saturday’s 1st inning was almost a carbon copy of Friday night’s 1st inning, as 3 batters into the game the Angels had a 3-0 lead thanks to another 3-run homer by Mike Trout. Although the Angels did ultimately lose the game again, this time it wasn’t because the starter gave up a bunch of 1st inning runs.
The pitching matchup featured Tyler Skaggs making his 3rd start since his return from Tommy John surgery against Seattle’s Taijuan Walker. Skaggs wasn’t quite as dominant as he had been in his first 2 starts as he’d thrown a combined 12 1/3 scoreless innings in those two starts, but he still was able to put up 4 quality innings giving up just a couple runs to start the game off. The Angel offense had built a 6-2 lead going to the bottom of the 5th, but that’s when Skaggs gave up a 2-run homer to Franklin Gutierrez to bring Seattle a little closer 6-4.
Skaggs ultimately was charged with 4 runs in 5 1/3 innings, but things really fell apart for the Angels in the 7th. That’s when Jose Valdez was brought in to make his Angel debut, and after getting Nelson Cruz to flyout, he then proceeded to walk the bases loaded before being pulled from the game. After that, Deolis Guerra came in and gave up a sac fly and a 3-run Shawn O’Malley home run to put Seattle up 8-4. That’s how the game would finish.
WP: Storen (2-3) LP: Valdez (0-1), SV: Diaz (4)
Sunday August 7, 2016 – Angels Get Swept
Off the Field: The Angels made no roster moves Sunday. Mike Trout celebrated his 25th birthday.
On the Field: Angels Lose – Mariners beat Angels 3-1: Sunday’s series finale in Seattle featured the Angels trying to salvage one game in the series with Matt Shoemaker going up against Seattle lefty James Paxton. Unlike the other two games in the series, this one was a much more well pitched game, as Shoemaker and Paxton were locked in a duel for most of the afternoon. The Angels opened the scoring in the 3rd when Albert Pujols hit a RBI single to drive in Shane Robinson to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.
That’s all the Angels would muster all day however, and Seattle managed to rally for 3 runs in the 4th off Shoemaker on a couple of RBI singles and a sac fly. In the end both pitchers had quality outings with Shoemaker being charged with 3 runs in 7 innings, and Paxton charged with just 1 run over 8 1/3 innings. Unfortunately for Seattle, Paxton was unable to complete the game because he took an Andrelton Simmons line drive off his pitching elbow with 1 out in the 9th, forcing him from the game. Fortunately an X-ray & MRI on Paxton’s elbow taken today both revealed no damage, and if the swelling subsides enough he may even be able to make his next scheduled start.
WP: Paxton (4-5), LP: Shoemaker (6-12), SV: Wilhelmsen (1)
- Mon 8/8: No Game
- Tue 8/9: Angels @ Cubs – 5:05pm PT
- Wed 8/10: Angels @ Cubs – 5:05pm PT
- Thu 8/11: Angels @ Indians – 4:10pm PT
- Fri 8/12: Angels @ Indians – 4:10pm PT
- Sat 8/13: Angels @ Indians – 4:10pm PT
- Sun 8/14: Angels @ Indians – 10:10am PT