ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Los Angeles Angels’ season is slowly slipping away.
Actually, at the pace they’re going now, it might not be so slowly anymore. The Angels lost 4-1 to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night, their third loss to the A’s in as many days. The Angels are now 8.5 games from the top of the American League West and 3.5 games out of a wild-card spot.
Santana: You couldn’t ask for much more from Ervin Santana. The right-hander, who had won four of his previous five decisions and thrown quality starts in six of his previous seven starts heading into Wednesday’s game, pitched six innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and striking out six. Santana got out of a two-on, two-out jam to end the first inning by striking out Josh Donaldson and later played on after getting hit by a comeback by Brandon Moss in the fourth inning. On that play, he threw to second for the forceout before getting checked by doctors on the mound.
Kendrick: It might not have been Howie Kendrick’s best day from the plate; then again, none of the Angels had a day worth remembering. But the second baseman did make the Angels’ defensive play of the game. In the top of the fifth inning, he dove left to smother a Coco Crisp grounder and threw to first base for an out.
Pujols: Before the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia had somewhat encouraging news on Albert Pujols’ tight right calf, which has prevented him from playing first base since Aug. 22. “He’s been taking some ground balls, but he’s still not quite to that level,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully he’s feeling comfortable enough at some point to get out there, but right now it’s something you can’t push.” While the Angels wait for him to return to first base, Pujols has been a consistent hitter as a DH. On Wednesday he hit a home run, and he now has a hit in 18 of his past 20 games.
Hunter: Torii Hunter admitted he didn’t know much about A’s pitcher A.J. Griffin before Wednesday’s game and looked especially confused by the right-hander at the plate. Hunter struck out twice, popped out once and broke his bat on a groundout in the eighth inning. It seemed Hunter was almost as frustrated by umpire Mike Everett’s strike zone. He struck out on a couple of pitches that were down and out after an earlier exchange with Everett.
Wells: The biggest reason Vernon Wells has been playing for the Angels recently is he has been a far more productive hitter than Mark Trumbo. Wells homered Tuesday night and has five homers in his past 15 games with an at-bat. Trumbo, however, likely will see the field again Thursday after Wells went 0-for-3 and flied out to left field to end the fourth inning, when the Angels had runners on first and third. To be fair, it’s not entirely Wells’ fault they didn’t score. In the past 13 innings, the Angels have had four runners at third base with fewer than two outs and have failed to score.
Iannetta: The good news was Angels catcher Chris Iannetta snapped his 0-for-15 skid with an infield single in the bottom of the third inning. The bad news was he tried to get from first to third on a Mike Trout single and was easily thrown out. Scioscia loves aggressive baserunning, but that was simply a bad decision by Iannetta.