Angels fall to Rockies after 8th inning collapse

The Angels bullpen fell apart in the 8th inning leading to the Rockies taking game one of this series 7-4 on Friday night

The Angels had lost two straight games to the Dodgers before traveling to Colorado to play the Rockies. In those two games, the Angels scored 0 runs and showed no life at the plate whatsoever. During the first game of a 3-game series against the Rockies, at least the bats showed some life and contributed for 4 runs. However, 4 runs at Coors Field is not considered a good hitting day by anyone, and the Angels blew a 4-3 lead they had entering the bottom of the 8th inning and ended up losing 7-4 after Elias Diaz’s Grand Slam put the finishing touches on the Rockies comeback win. Friday night’s contest felt too similar to last Saturday’s matchup against the Royals, blowing a lead late in the game to one of the worst teams in baseball. In a divisional race with the Rangers and Astros, the Angels need every game they can get from struggling teams like the Royals and Rockies (and even the Dodgers entering the 2-game series vs. the Angels), but that simply isn’t happening for this team.

Here are my three takeaways from the game:

Chris Devenski struggles again

It has been a rough week for Chris Devenski, who was perhaps the main culprit in blowing the 8-2 lead against the Royals last Saturday and the reason the Dodgers even got 2 runs in their 2-0 win on Tuesday. Friday night was yet again a struggle for Devenski, who came into a 4-3 game with runners on 1st and 2nd that he inherited from Sam Bachman in the 8th inning with 1 out. If any of you reading look at the box score, you will see Bachman having 2 earned runs, which is correct, but that seems unfair considering he pitched a dominant 7th inning and gave up two singles that weren’t hit hard in the 8th inning before getting pulled for Devenski.

Nonetheless, Devenski threw a changeup at middle-bottom portion of the strike zone to Elias Diaz and he crushed a game-winning Grand Slam. Devenski had been excellent at dissolving tough situations entering last weekend, being Phil Nevin’s go-to guy when he needed a pitcher to come in and get out of a jam. Since last Saturday Devenski has been the opposite, getting shelled in every single appearance regardless of the situation.

In fact, entering the contest against the Royals last weekend Devenski had an ERA of 1.85 and was considered an All-Star candidate for the American League, but after a few atrocious appearances his ERA is now up to 3.33. Since Devenski is struggling, the Angels will need Matt Moore (who is close to returning) to come back and be the pitcher he was in the first two months of the season for this team to snap out of a funk. In the future, I am sure Devenski’s role will be diminished until he proves again he can get out of tough situations or breeze through an inning or two.

Troutani strikes again!

Despite the loss, there were a few positives for the Angels including yet another “Troutani” special (which is when Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout hit back-to-back home runs in a game) that helped the Angels jump out to a 4-2 lead. Ohtani hit his MLB-leading 25th homer of the year and Trout launched his 16th homer of the year in the bottom of the 5th inning. In my last few columns on the Angels, I have mentioned Ohtani’s extremely impressive streak he is on, but I haven’t given Trout enough credit for somewhat breaking out of his June slump yet.

Friday night’s home run was Trout’s second in his last four games after going close to two weeks without a homer previously. Overall Trout is still hitting just .164 in the month of June (that number was surprisingly much lower just over a week ago) and has 6 hits over his last 5 games. Sure, it would be nice for Trout to strike out less and be more consistent at the plate, but given his overall production in June, any contribution will go a long way in helping the Angels win games.

Patrick Sandoval gives up 10 hits

Following arguably his best start of the year last weekend against the Royals where he threw 7 shutout innings in a victory, Patrick Sandoval gave up 10 hits for the second time over his last three outings. Sure, Sandoval was excellent at minimizing the damage (only giving up 2 runs on the day), but Rockies hitters were seeing the ball very well out of his hands and they haven’t been the only team to do so recently. Just two weeks ago Sandoval gave up 10 hits to the Mariners, who had entered that game struggling at the plate tremendously. In the month of June Sandoval boasts an ERA of just 6.20 with 32 hits given up in just 20.1 innings pitched. If the Angels want to be a serious contender, they need Sandoval to get more whiffs against opposing batters because teams are seeing the ball very well from him recently.

The Angels will play game two of this series Saturday with Griffin Canning on the mound to face Chase Anderson. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PST.