ANAHEIM — In what was expected to be their last game without Mike Trout, the Angels showed Wednesday they are ready to put together some offense for their star run producer.
What they need to do moving forward is prevent things like the Seattle Mariners’ four home-run blitz, including the first-ever multi-homer game from second-year player Cal Raleigh.
With Trout saying before the game that he intends to return Friday at Detroit, the Angels at least went out and matched the most runs they have scored in a game since Aug. 6, although it was not nearly enough in an 11-7 loss to the Mariners.
Even with something of an offensive showing Wednesday, the Angels managed just 3.7 runs per game in the three-game series as the Mariners rolled to the sweep.
Shohei Othani had a home run among his four hits, as well as four RBIs, to give him a hit in eight of his past nine games, but his ability to carry the offense has been limited. The Angels can only hope Trout’s return changes the dynamic up and down the roster.
“Plain and simple, Shohei is pitched different when Mike’s not in the lineup; when Mike’s in the lineup and Shohei’s not, Mike is pitched different,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “And it snowballs down through the lineup. To have guys move up to roles that they are not accustomed to is a difficult transition.”
And yet, while representing the one guy in the lineup the Mariners did not want to give into, Ohtani still delivered his 29th multi-hit game of the season and his 17th multi-RBI game. It was his first four-hit game of the season.
Yet it was the pitching that derailed the Angels on Wednesday, much like it did Tuesday night when reliever Jesse Chavez did not get an obvious third-strike call in the ninth inning and ended up allowing five runs to blow open a tight game.
In his fourth appearance and second start with the Angels, since he was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 4, right-hander Touki Toussaint gave up four runs on three hits and four walks in 2-2/3 innings.
The Angels went to right-hander Mike Mayers to absorb innings, but he gave up five runs on five hits over 5-1/3 innings. Mayers still threw a career-high 96 pitches, the third time this month alone he has thrown at least 60 pitches in a relief outing.
On a warm afternoon with a touch of humidity and a breeze blowing out to right field, Seattle’s Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker went deep, along with Raleigh’s power display. All went out in the direction of the light wind, with none really needing the assist, especially Raleigh’s blasts.
The Angels could merely deliver a tepid objection to the Mariners’ multiple-run innings. When Seattle scored four times in the third, the Angels came back with a David Fletcher RBI single. When Seattle scored three times in the fifth, the Angels’ answer was an Ohtani RBI single and a Luis Rengifo RBI double.
By the time Ohtani ripped an RBI double in the seventh and Taylor Ward brought home a run with a sacrifice fly, the damage was done.
The Angels can now hope to be even more productive with their lineup about to get back in sequence again, although they could be without Rengifo after he left the game with lower back tightness.
“We can point to people having some down years, but the fact is, it’s a direct result of not having other guys in the lineup,” Nevin said about the absences of not only Trout but third baseman Anthony Rendon as well. “… You can’t expect guys to go out and have All-Star seasons, to have impact seasons when they don’t have the support group around them.”
More to come on this story.