ANAHEIM -- An undercurrent of nostalgia flowed steadily throughout the Angels' 5-2 loss to the A's on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.Officially, it was Japan Day, but the evening soon morphed into an unofficial tribute to Mike Scioscia, who is expected to step down following Sunday's regular-season finale, ending his
ANAHEIM -- An undercurrent of nostalgia flowed steadily throughout the Angels' 5-2 loss to the A's on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
Officially, it was Japan Day, but the evening soon morphed into an unofficial tribute to Mike Scioscia, who is expected to step down following Sunday's regular-season finale, ending his 19-year run as Angels manager.
While Scioscia has deflected questions about his future with the organization, the Angels found ways to acknowledge the impending departure of the most successful manager in franchise history. They gave away bobbleheads in his honor and played video tributes in between innings highlighting his various milestones with the club. Scioscia, for his part, said he didn't see any of the clips on the scoreboard.
By dropping their penultimate game of the season, the Angels (79-82) secured a less distinguished feat under Scioscia. They are now guaranteed to finish below .500 for the third consecutive season for the first time since 1992-94.
The Angels mustered only four hits against six A's pitchers as they lost for the first time in five games, and left-hander Tyler Skaggs couldn't get past the fourth inning in his final outing of the season, yielding three runs on four hits over 3 1/3 innings.
"Frustrating way to end the season for me," Skaggs said.
The A's forced Skaggs to throw 33 pitches in the first inning alone, seizing a 2-0 lead on Khris Davis' MLB-high 48th home run. In the third, Skaggs surrendered a leadoff double to Ramon Laureano, who scored on Jed Lowrie's sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
On a limited pitch count in his third start since returning from the disabled list, Skaggs was pulled after yielding a one-out double to Mark Canha in the fourth.
The 27-year-old ends the 2018 season with a 4.02 ERA over a career-high 125 1/3 innings, though he endured a frustrating second half that was derailed by a nagging adductor injury. After posting a 2.62 ERA through his first 19 starts, Skaggs tried to pitch through the malady and gave up 17 runs over 6 2/3 innings over his next two outings, causing his ERA to spike to 3.78.
Skaggs' third stint on the DL cost him more than a month, but he returned to make three starts in September, giving up seven runs over 8 2/3 innings (7.27 ERA) over that span.
"I thought the first half was fantastic," Skaggs said. "It was a career-best for me, and the second half -- it's tough to pitch in the big leagues when you're healthy, and it's even tougher when you're trying to fight through something. This last month has just not been fun for me, personally, but it's going to leave a nice sour taste in my mouth to work hard and come back next year stronger."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Angels leave 'em loaded:Kaleb Cowart's RBI single in the fifth accounted for all of the Angels' production through the first six innings, but they showed some life in the seventh against Oakland reliever Fernando Rodney.
Andrelton Simmons singled and Cowart and Kole Calhoun walked to load the bases with two outs. Jose Fernandez then drew another walk to force in a run and cut the A's lead to 4-2. Michael Trout followed with a deep drive to right field, but Stephen Piscotty was there to make the catch at the warning track, quashing the Angels' rally.
Right-hander Matthew Shoemaker (2-2, 4.82 ERA) will start opposite A's left-hander Brett Anderson (4-5, 4.42) in the regular-season finale on Sunday afternoon at 12:07 PT at Angel Stadium. In his last start, Shoemaker gave up one run over five innings on Tuesday against the Rangers. He is 6-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 14 career appearances against Oakland.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.