Angels swept away by Mariners as offensive struggles linger

John Froschauer-USA TODAY Sports
The Angels dropped their fifth in a row as they finished their series in Seattle with just one run scored across the final two games.

Los Angeles Angels right-hander Griffin Canning was effective in his start, but four hits from the offense was not enough as the Angels fell, 5-1, to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday at T-Mobile Park.

Canning (2-5) took the loss despite allowing four hits and walking one across 6 2/3 innings. He threw 93 pitches (56 strikes) and did his best to keep the Mariners from taking the early momentum.

The loss was the first for the 28-year old since May 5, further hinting at his recent improvements. He has thrown at least 90 pitches in four of his last five starts.

Canning received no run support as the Angels did not score until the ninth inning. They supported him with two hits while he was pitching and looked lost at the plate for the second consecutive day.

Their lone run came via Zach Neto’s eighth-inning RBI single. They also suffered through a nine strikeouts.

The Angels (21-38) are 2-8 in their last 10 games as they fell to 12 games behind the first-place Mariners in the AL West and 12 back in the wild-card race. They were swept by the Mariners in a three-game series for the first time since August 2022.

Here are three takeaways:

Canning keeps rolling

After posting a 2.60 ERA in May, Canning opened June the same way. He surrendered one run on the afternoon via a solo home run from Luke Raley in the fourth inning.

It was an otherwise sharp performance as he struck out four batters. It was the fourth start of his last six with at least four strikeouts.

Heading into Sunday’s game, Canning had allowed eight runs in his last 27 2/3 innings pitched. He has delivered six quality starts in a row.

He also continued what has been a successful career at T-Mobile Park so far. He has allowed three runs in 17 innings pitched in Seattle.

His 2.60 ERA in May was a turnaround from the sluggish start that he presented in April. Canning had allowed 15 runs his first three starts as he quickly jumped out to an 0-2 record with a 7.45 ERA.

Since then, he has not allowed more than four runs in a game. Additionally, he has pitched no less than five innings in that span.

Now holding a 4.69 ERA, he continues to improve. He worked into the seventh inning for the first time this season against Seattle.

While he did take a loss thanks to the lack of run support, the performance should leave him feeling confident.

Bullpen, Neto cost Angels

Seattle blew the game open in the eighth thanks to some pitching and defense by Los Angeles. Reliever Matt Moore started the inning with a strikeout before walking the next two batters and being pulled.

He was replaced by Luis Garcia, who allowed Ty France to reach on an error by shortstop Zach Neto and load the bases. Garcia then hit Luke Raley and gave him his second RBI of the game, making it 2-0.

Mitch Garver delivered a two-out double that cleared the bases and gave Seattle a 5-0 cushion. It was his first RBIs in 38 at-bats.

The bullpen allowed four runs to score for the second consecutive day. This time, however, none of them were earned runs thanks to the error from Neto, who made the Angels’ second error of the day.

Moore and Garcia combined for three walks as their lack of command once again cost the team when it mattered.

“Well, he was just struggling with his command period,” manager Ron Washington said. “Garcia actually got us out of that inning. We just didn’t make the play right there.

“If you hit that ball to Neto 99 more times, I guarantee you he’ll catch that ball.”

Things could have looked much different without the error from Neto. Nonetheless, the bullpen will need to improve their control and limit the number of free passes. It was another day in which two walks and a hit batsman proved costly.

Another Seattle starter dominates

The Mariners starting pitching staff had the Angels struggling to find answers all series. For the third consecutive day, a Seattle starter did not allow Los Angeles to score.

This time, it was Luis Castillo (5-6) who tossed seven suffocating innings. He allowed just two hits and struck out six as the Angels did not come close to plating a run against him.

Throughout the series, Seattle’s starters combined for 19 scoreless innings and 17 strikeouts.

The Angels’ five runs across the three games were all scrapped across against the Mariners’ bullpen. Their performance limited the impact that Los Angeles could make early in games as they did not lead any of the three contests.

The Seattle rotation is the only one in the majors to have 30 or more quality starts, four pitchers with an ERA under 3.50 and five pitchers with a WHIP under 1.20. Their right-hand dominant rotation played right into the Angels’ struggles this season.

Los Angeles has now gone 13-34 this year against right-handers, compared to their 8-4 record against left-handers. If they want to start winning games at a more frequent level, the lineup will need to find a way to start producing at the same level against right-handed pitching.

The Angels will head home, where they are 7-21, and begin a three-game series with the San Diego Padres at 6:38 p.m. Monday night. Tyler Anderson (5-5, 2.47 ERA) will start against San Diego’s righty Matt Waldron (3-5, 4.26 ERA).