Angels shutout and swept by Reds in series finale

Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
Los Angeles could not get it done against the Reds bullpen as they suffered their first sweep of the season.

Jose Soriano pitched 5.1 hitless innings to start the game for the Angels, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Reds.

The 25-year-old righty (now 0-3) went six innings and allowed three unearned runs. He struck out seven along the way in what was an overall impressive showing. Due to the lack of production from the Angels’ lineup, he still suffered another loss and will have to wait once more to try and earn his first win.

The lineup struggled throughout the entirety of the game to get runs across the board against the Cincinnati bullpen. Reds’ starter Frankie Montas was pulled from the game after recording just two outs and throwing 16 pitches. This forced the bullpen into early action as they held Los Angeles to just six hits all day long.

The Angels have now lost four in a row and are down to 9-13 this season. Despite the recent struggles, they remain just two games out of first place in the slow-starting AL West.

Here are three takeaways:

Soriano goes 6 strong

The Angels turned to Jose Soriano for his third start of the season (fifth appearance) as he looked to help them avoid a sweep on Sunday morning. It turned out to be his second solid start in a row as he opened up the ballgame with 5.1 hitless innings.

He then allowed his first knock of the game, an Elly De La Cruz single, that got things going for the Reds. Nick Martini reached via error later on in the inning to put runners on first and second with two outs for Christan Encarnacion-Strand. He would rope a two-run double to get the scoring going in Cincinnati and put his team out in front. Jeimer Candelario followed with an RBI triple to make it 3-0 before Tyler Stephenson struck out to end the inning.

Soriano finished with three unearned runs thanks to the error from Luis Rengifo that allowed Martini to reach base. He threw 92 pitches total and brought his ERA on the season to 3.43.

While he wasn’t able to walk away with a victory, it was yet another strong outing that showed his ability to deliver quality starts and keep the Angels in the game. Soriano pitched five innings and allowed just one run in his previous appearance against the Rays (a 7-6 loss). Hopefully, his next time out is finally the one to bring home his first win of the year.

Montas exits early for Reds

Righty Frankie Montas (2-2, 4.19 ERA) took the bump for the Reds on Sunday as he looked to earn his third win of the year. Unfortunately, the appearance would be short-lived as he was struck in the forearm by a line drive off the bat of Taylor Ward in the first inning.

He was taken out of the game, but thankfully X-rays came back negative and it doesn’t look to be too severe for the 31-year-old.

The Cincinnati bullpen was thrown into action early and forced to work through the entirety of the game. It was a big opportunity for the Angels to get out in front early against a Reds bullpen that currently ranks 17th in the MLB.

However, five different pitchers combined to do a solid job in replacement of Montas as they held the Los Angeles lineup to just six hits. The 1-4 spots in the order finished just 2-13 while the team as a whole finished 0-7 with runners in scoring position. It was the first time all year long that the Angels had been shut out, and they have now lost nine of their last 11 games.

Trout goes hitless to cap off rough series

With much of the Angels’ offensive production having to do with the bat of Mike Trout, it makes sense that they ended up getting swept. Trout seemed to struggle throughout the entirety of the weekend in Cincinnati as an 0-4 performance on Sunday capped off a rough series.

After colliding with the wall in the sixth inning as he tried to make the catch on Jeimer Candelario’s RBI triple, he appeared shaken up but managed to remain in the game. It was a solid effort from Trout, who covered a lot of ground but could not reel it in as the Reds extended their lead to 3-0.

He finished the three-game set 1-12 as his average on the season is now down to .244. Although the lineup as a whole has shown its struggles recently, it is unlike Trout to fall into slumps with the bat. Thanks to his .323 OBP and .581 SLG rates, however, there are clearly signs that the struggles won’t continue for too much longer.

His 8 home runs currently lead the American League and are tied for the most in the entire MLB. The sooner that he is able to return to form, the higher the odds are that Los Angeles is able to break out of their slump and start producing wins on a more frequent level.

With a series against the Orioles set to begin on Monday night, the Angels will head home after a 3-7 road trip. They will be without Anthony Rendon for the near future, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring.

Reid Detmers (3-0, 1.19 ERA) will get the ball in the series opener as he faces Orioles’ starter Grayson Rodriguez (3-0, 2.63 ERA). Both men have jumped out of the gates with excellent starts to 2024, and it should be a solid duel on a warm evening in Anaheim.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:38 p.m. PT.