It was a new day in the Angels clubhouse, less than 24 hours after one of the worst innings of the team’s season.
Interim manager Phil Nevin was encouraged by injured starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen, who threw a simulated game Tuesday. Jo Adell — who got hit in the thumb with a pitch on Monday — hit a home run off Lorenzen. Max Stassi and Aaron Loup carried on their usual pregame routines in better spirits.
“I think we’ve played pretty fundamentally sound baseball for about two weeks now and I’m not gonna let one inning get us off course,” Nevin said of how he’s approaching the next game with the Mariners and moving forward. “No one in here is gonna let that [inning] affect us.”
It was a necessary mental shift after the Angels’ ugly loss to the Mariners the night before.
The players and coaches left the field and dugout understandably and visibly upset. Postgame responses were short and a feeling of frustration mixed with confusion over the events that transpired, lingered about.
That was after a ninth inning in which Stassi thought Mariner Sam Haggerty — who reached on a single — would try to advance to second after Loup’s last pitch got away from Stassi, and in reaction his throw sailed out of Luis Rengifo’s reach and Haggerty was able to reach second.
The next slip up came when home plate umpire Laz Diaz lost track of the ball-strikes count with Carlos Santana at the plate. Santana walked on a 2-and-2 count, with Diaz losing track of that, thinking it was 3-and-1.
Santana had asked him if the count was 3-and-2, Diaz said it was 2-and-2, but that’s when Diaz confused himself.
“I started thinking, maybe it is 3-1, because I forgot I called that first pitch a strike,” he said after the game. “There were so many pitches going on, I lost the count on that first pitch. I knew I called a strike on the steal, and that’s the only one I remembered. I couldn’t remember the one before that.”
“Yeah. I messed that one up.”
Julio Rodriguez sent a 107-mph liner out to Rengifo, a ball hit so hard that it bounced off Rengifo’s glove. Rengifo sent the ball to Stassi to prevent Haggerty from scoring and breaking the 2-2 tie.
But the big mistake: Stassi and third baseman Jose Rojas miscommunicated running down Haggerty, who was loitering on the base paths between them. Stassi approached Haggerty and Rojas, leaving home plate open, then threw the ball to Rojas. But by the time first baseman Jared Walsh or Loup could get to the plate, Haggerty had already skirted by Rojas and Stassi and scored, and Santana was able to get to third safely.
Stassi took responsibility for the way that played out, as well as for the loss. Nevin explained that the run down should have happened further back because Loup was getting into position and it was impossible for Walsh to get to the plate in time.
The inning unraveled further and the Mariners won 6-2.
— David Fletcher left Monday’s game early with a left foot contusion after fouling a ball off himself in the fifth inning. It caused him enough pain to double over and roll onto the dirt. He continued the at-bat, but after, he told Nevin that he did not feel comfortable continuing to play. He was sent for X-rays that night, which were negative for a break, and was back in the starting lineup on Tuesday.
— Adell, the last batter Monday, struck out on a pitch he swung at and hit, but the ball hit his thumb and not his bat. He was also sent for X-rays after that game, which also returned negative for a break. He was available off the bench Tuesday, explaining that although he can go up to bat, his thumb felt stiff and so throwing was uncomfortable.
— Tepera did not play Sunday and was not available out of the bullpen Monday, either. Asked why the reliever wasn’t being used, Nevin said Tepera had been dealing with a knot in his lat.
“Everything looks good,” Nevin said. “He’s had it before. Just trying to avoid him for a little bit. Hopefully that thing gets out of there and he’ll be good to go.”
Nevin was noncommittal whether he would be available Tuesday.
— Lorenzen threw a sim game, the next step in his recovery and return from a right shoulder strain.
“He was great, looked great, threw a lot of strikes,” Nevin said. “Happy with what we saw.”
There is still no set date for his return. The team will assess Lorenzen again Wednesday.
— Trout had a scheduled day off Tuesday after three days of increased rehab work. The team will see how he feels Wednesday. There is still no set date for his return.