It’s a multi-sys­tem fail­ure for An­gels

Poor pitch­ing, hit­ting and baserun­ning are ma­jor fac­tors in team’s fifth loss in a row.

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - By Mike DiGio­vanna mike.digio­vanna@la­times.com Twit­ter: @MikeDiGio­vanna

NEW YORK — It’s dif­fi­cult enough for the An­gels, with their spotty of­fense, to win games when they get su­perb pitch­ing. String a few shoddy starts to­gether, like they did the last week, and they have vir­tu­ally no chance.

A ro­ta­tion that leads the Amer­i­can League with 33 qual­ity starts was torched for 29 earned runs, in­clud­ing 10 home runs, in 241⁄ innings

3 of the last five games, an un­sightly ERA of 10.73.

It’s no shock that the An­gels, on the heels of a fiveg­ame win­ning streak, lost all five games, the lat­est Sun­day’s 6-2 clunker at the hands of the New York Yan­kees, who rode a quick­strike, four-run rally against left-han­der C.J. Wil­son in the fifth in­ning to a three­game sweep in Yan­kee Sta­dium.

“When you’re not scor­ing runs, there is a pre­mium on stop­ping runs,” Manager Mike Scios­cia said. “We’ve held our heads above wa­ter purely with what we’ve done on the pitch­ing side.

“A cou­ple of guys on the of­fen­sive side have done what they can do, but you can have an in­cred­i­ble of­fense, and ev­ery­thing you do will still hinge on your ro­ta­tion giv­ing you a chance to get into the f low of the game.”

Two months into the sea­son, the An­gels are 28-29 and in third place in the AL West, 51⁄ games be­hind the Hous

2 ton Astros and still “try­ing to find our iden­tity,” as Wil­son said.

De­spite a re­cent power surge in which they’ve hit 20 home runs in 11 games, the An­gels rank 26th in the ma­jor leagues with a .238 av­er­age and .299 on-base per­cent­age and 25th with a .680 on-base-plus-slug­ging mark.

Mike Trout and Al­bert Pu­jols, who hit con­sec­u­tive home runs in the first in­ning Sun­day, have com­bined for 31 home runs and 62 runs bat­ted in, and Kole Cal­houn (.266, five home runs, 25 RBIs), David Freese (nine homers, 31 RBIs), Erick Ay­bar (.265) and Johnny Gi­avotella (.277, 21 RBIs) have had de­cent sea­sons.

But three key play­ers — Matt Joyce (.188, four homers, 17 RBIs), Chris Ian­netta (.171, three homers, 14 RBIs) and C.J. Cron (.192, one home run, six RBIs) — have lagged far be­hind, putting a strain on the top of the or­der. The bot­tom five hit­ters Sun­day were 0 for 15.

“We need to step our game, we need to play more con­sis­tent base­ball if we’re go­ing to reach our goal,” Scios­cia said. “We feel it’s in this team. But we’re mak­ing a turn through two months of the sea­son, and some guys just haven’t hit their stride. That’s some­thing we need to pay a lot of at­ten­tion to.”

The An­gels’ prob­lems Sun­day ex­tended to the basepa­ths. They had a chance to ex­tend a lead to 3-0 in the third in­ning when, with run­ners at first base and third base and one out, Freese lifted an ap­par­ent sac­ri­fice f ly into the right­field cor­ner.

But Trout tagged from first base and was thrown out at sec­ond base by right fielder Car­los Bel­tran be­fore Ay­bar, who tagged from third base, crossed the plate, negat­ing the run.

“Two runs is not much of a lead in Yan­kee Sta­dium, but what hurts is that we didn’t score that third run,” Wil­son said. “We were just very ag­gres­sive and got beat by an inch at sec­ond.”

Scios­cia called the play “a glitch,” say­ing Trout “got a lit­tle ag­gres­sive on his end,” and Ay­bar “got caught a lit­tle com­ing off third and an­tic­i­pat­ing scor­ing easy.”

It was hard to fault the play­ers, though.

“No one plays harder than Mike or Erick,” Scios­cia said. “It’s re­ally an anom­aly that some­thing like that would hap­pen, but it did.”

Said Trout: “When you’re win­ning, you don’t pick apart lit­tle things. When you lose, ev­ery lit­tle thing stands out.”

Un­til the An­gels can sup­port solid pitch­ing with a con­sis­tently pro­duc­tive of­fense, they won’t have much mar­gin for er­ror.

“We have to dig deep and ex­e­cute the fun­da­men­tals,” Wil­son said. “I know that sounds cheesy, but that’s the one thing I feel we haven’t done as well as we can. We have a lot of guys who have amaz­ing phys­i­cal tal­ent, but we have to ex­e­cute the fun­da­men­tals like mov­ing run­ners over, stuff like that. You can’t just rely on homers.”

Jim McIsaac Getty Images

MIKE TROUT of the An­gels tries to ad­vance to sec­ond base on a f ly­out but is tagged out by New York Yan­kees short­stop Didi Gre­go­rius in the third in­ning.

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