Angels fall 2-1 to Athletics in pitcher’s duel

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
The Angels struggled to generate offense all game long as they failed to back up their own pitching staff.

The Angels and Athletics found themselves in a well-pitched game that found offense hard to come by. Starters Griffin Canning and Paul Blackburn both played well, with the score standing at 2-1 in favor of Oakland after 6 innings. Thanks to more solid pitching from the bullpens, that would end up being the final score of the game and Los Angeles would lose their second in a row to start the series against the worst team in Major League Baseball.

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Canning, Blackburn set the tone of the game

After a game in which the Angels and Athletics scored 11 combined runs on Friday, the two teams ended up tallying just 3 in the second game of the series. Oaklands’ starter Paul Blackburn, who has arguably been the best pitcher in their starting rotation this season, played well through the first 5 innings. He allowed just 1 run on a Luis Rengifo sacrifice fly in the first inning, but it was smooth sailing from that point on. His 5 strikeouts and 4 hits allowed kept the Athletics within striking distance and contributed to what was ultimately a low-scoring game. As for the Angels, it was Griffin Canning who took the mound and also pitched fairly well. While he did allow 2 ER compared to Blackburn’s 1, he did pitch an inning longer and managed to strike out 7. Unfortunately, the 2-run home run he allowed to Brent Rooker (his 23rd of the season) was enough to secure an Oakland win. The two starters both did a nice job setting the tone for their respective bullpens to follow, and both offenses could not manage to score for the rest of the game.

Kyren Paris grabs his first major league hit

With a recent wave of players being dropped from the Angels roster and scooped up by other clubs, the team found themselves with a need to fill some roster spots. They chose to fill one of those spots by calling up infield prospect Kyren Paris straight from Double-A. After making his MLB debut in the first game of the series (0-2, BB), he got another start in the second game at shortstop. This time around, he was able to grab his first major league hit on a single that just snuck over second base in the top of the 5th inning.

Paris is a 21-year-old prospect who was selected by the Angels in the 2nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Coming straight out of Freedom High School, he has developed his game quite a bit over the past few seasons in the minor leagues and is most certainly overjoyed to see his hard work gift him a surprise September callup. While things would most likely be different if the circumstances in Los Angeles were more normal, Paris will look to make the most of his time with the big-league team and prove himself as a capable player who can make an impact in seasons to come.

Angels fumble many scoring opportunities

Despite a 2-1 loss, the Angels managed to out-hit the Athletics 6-5. Usually, this would be a good sign, however the team put up extremely disappointing at-bats when it mattered. With runners in scoring position, Los Angeles went a staggering 1-13 from the plate and did their pitching staff no favors. The only player to grab a hit with a runner in scoring position was Mike Moustakas, and the hit ultimately helped the Angels to score their only run of the game in the 1st inning. Fans watched the final 8 innings go by as Los Angeles went 0-12 in the rest of their RISP at-bats and missed out on many chances to score runs against an Athletics squad with the worst team ERA in the MLB (5.68). The lack of production comes as a concerning sign considering the circumstances, and the Angels sit one game away from being swept on the road by a team that regularly brings record-low numbers of fan attendance. The team will need to sharpen up on Sunday in the final game of the series if they wish to score more than 1 run and salvage what has been a very ugly series thus far.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. PT.