Is it Groundhog Day? Reid Detmers gave up 7 earned runs in the Angels 11-3 loss on Friday night, then on Saturday afternoon Tyler Anderson gave up 7 earned runs as the Angels lost 11-3 again. Despite the Halos needing to put together a huge win streak to try and get back into the playoff race, they continue to lose to teams they need to beat. The first two games of this series proved that the Astros are just a far superior team to the Angels and they have a lot of work to do to get back to the postseason in future years.
The Rangers and Mariners continue to improve and Houston isn’t going anywhere either. In fact, since 2016 the Halos have a 45-90 record against the Astros, by far the worst record against any divisional opponent. Now the Angels are 58-60, two games under .500 and over 12 games out of first place in the division with under 50 games to go. It’s not looking good, and the team will have a lot to figure out in the offseason (especially if Shohei Ohtani signs elsewhere which is looking increasingly likely).
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Tyler Anderson’s run of good performances comes to an end
Entering Saturday’s game Tyler Anderson had only given up 8 runs over his last 4 starts combined and had a 3.28 ERA in the month of July overall. Last weekend, Anderson threw 5 innings of 2-run ball against the Mariners and gave the Angels a chance to win, and it was looking like he was doing the same thing on Saturday as well. Anderson cruised through the first 3 innings as the score was 0-0, but the 4th inning was an absolute disaster as he gave up an RBI single to Yordan Alvarez then a 3-run home run to Kyle Tucker as the Astros went up 4-0.
The 5th inning didn’t get any better for Anderson as he allowed 4 straight base-runners to reach before coming out of the game. Last offseason, the Angels gave Anderson a three-year $39 million dollar deal following a career year with the Dodgers where he compiled a 2.57 ERA in 178.2 innings pitched. Anderson simply hasn’t lived up to expectations since signing with the Angels as his season ERA is up to 5.28 in 109 innings pitched.
Jaime Barria struggles mightily in one inning of work
It wasn’t all that long ago when Jaime Barria was considered to be the best long reliever the Angels had because of his pinpoint control and innate ability to minimize damage when needed to. In fact, Barria had just a 2.76 ERA over 16.1 innings pitched in the month of April and a 0.51 ERA over 17.2 innings pitched in the month of May. However, Barria’s production incrementally decreased from there compiling just a 5.87 ERA in the month of June, a 7.30 ERA in the month of July, and now a 9.00 ERA already in the month of August. Barria’s continued struggles showed on Saturday as he gave up 4 earned runs in just one inning of work.
Already down 7-2 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Barria was put into the game to get 3 quick outs and give the Angels a chance to come back from an already daunting 5 run deficit in the 9th inning. However, Barria just couldn’t get anything going as he gave up 4 hits and 2 walks before getting 3 outs as the Astros took an 11-2 lead going into the 9th inning. A lot of the team’s pitchers are struggling tremendously right now, but Barria is a guy that has proven to be a reliable long-reliever in the past. With scare bullpen options right now, the Halos would love for Barria to pitch like he did earlier in the season moving forward.
Andrew Velasquez crushes a home run late
Coming in as a defensive replacement for Brandon Drury late in the game, Andrew Velasquez had just one at bat in Saturday’s contest and made the most of it. Already down 11-2 in the 9th inning, Velasquez (who has just 2 home runs on the season) launched a 367 footer off Hector Neris to make it 11-3. Aside from Velasquez not being a guy who typically hits the long ball well, it was even more impressive that he hit the home run off Neris, who boasts a 1.64 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched this season. Though their weren’t many positives for the Angels on Saturday, seeing Velasquez (who has struggled at the plate all year) have some success off one of the best relievers in the league had to have given fans and the organization some joy.