ANAHEIM -- Coming off a sweep of the rival Dodgers that gave them a four-game winning streak, the Angels were riding high heading into their seven-game homestand against the last-place Orioles and Tigers.
They were looking to improve their position in the American League Wild Card standings, but the Halos instead scuffled through one of their more frustrating homestands of the season. The Angels dropped five of seven to Baltimore and Detroit, including a 9-1 loss to the Tigers in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. It moved them six games back of the A’s for the second AL Wild Card spot, pending Oakland’s result against the Brewers.
“The two worst records in baseball and we go 2-5,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “That qualifies as a bad homestand.”
The lone bright spot during the afternoon was Mike Trout crushing a solo homer off left-handed reliever Nick Ramirez for his 35th blast of the year. It was Trout’s 13th homer of July, a club record for homers in the month. He became the first Major Leaguer with 13 homers in July since Hideki Matsui in 2007.
Rookie left-hander José Suarez was inefficient, showing why the Angels were in need of pitching help leading up to the Trade Deadline. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks to fall to 2-2 with a 5.66 ERA in nine career outings.
"I felt a little uncomfortable,” Suarez said. “I didn't feel very good with my changeup, so I had to find a way to fight with the rest of my pitches. I've never really not had my changeup like that, but today it didn't work, and I felt uncomfortable."
Suarez allowed two runs in the third, including a solo shot to Jake Rogers before exiting with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth. Reliever Trevor Cahill induced a grounder with two outs, but a two-run single from Brandon Dixon meant both runs were charged to Suarez.
"He’s out there grinding, fighting, got behind in the count, made mistakes, walked some guys," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "This is all about throwing strikes. We gotta throw strikes, we gotta be able to throw offspeed for strikes in the zone. If you can’t do that, you’re gonna have trouble at the Major League level getting hitters out. Suarez got in trouble with that today."
With the Angels not adding a starting pitcher via trade, they’ll have to count on several youngsters down the stretch, including Griffin Canning, Jaime Barria and Suarez. Things don’t get easier from here, as the Halos head out on a nine-game road trip through Cleveland, Cincinnati and Boston beginning Friday.
“We don't like it, but it's on us,” Ausmus said, of the way the team is playing. “We have to right the ship. We have some pretty good teams coming up on this road trip. We've got to right it, quick."