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Angels' offense struggles in loss to D-backs

August 22, 2018

PHOENIX -- The Angels put together some nice offensive numbers in hitter-friendly Texas this past weekend, scoring 23 runs, although they only won one of the four games.The absence of Justin Upton and Michael Trout and the early departure of recently rolling David Fletcher seemed to catch up with them

PHOENIX -- The Angels put together some nice offensive numbers in hitter-friendly Texas this past weekend, scoring 23 runs, although they only won one of the four games.
The absence of Justin Upton and Michael Trout and the early departure of recently rolling David Fletcher seemed to catch up with them on Wednesday, when they managed only five hits in a 5-1 Interleague loss to the D-backs at Chase Field.
Rene Rivera had two hits, and his fifth-inning double was the Angels' only extra-base hit off resurgent D-backs starter Clay Buchholz, who tossed seven scoreless innings.
With some of the Angels' most experienced and productive bats absent, Buchholz kept the Angels' hitters off-balance.

"I thought we had some pretty good looks at him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We hit some balls hard, but he got in his rhythm and was starting to change speeds midway through. Got some of our younger players who haven't faced him. He has good offspeed stuff. He pitched a good game."
Jabari Blash, recalled when Upton was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a left index finger laceration, doubled and scored on a groundout in the eighth as the Angels avoided being shut out for the eighth time this season.

Fletcher singled in the fourth, but he was removed in the bottom of the inning with a left knee contusion after fouling a ball off his leg on the pitch prior to the hit.
"He's a tough kid. For him to come out, you know it hurt him," Scioscia said of Fletcher, who is day to day.
Shohei Ohtani, making his second pinch-hit appearance of the series, singled to open the sixth. Ohtani broke his bat on a 91-mph fastball from Buchholz, but he still muscled the ball up the middle.

The Angels also had leadoff hits in the fourth and fith, but Rivera was the only runner to reach second against Buchholz.
"Buchholz has been around a lot, and he knows how to pitch," Rivera said. "He knows how to keep guys off-balance, and he did it today. He's having a good year this year. That's one thing, when you get in a groove like he does, you are going to get outs. Having some young kids and letting them play, I think that is good for the team. We have a bright future."
SOUND SMART
Ty Buttrey, acquired from Boston in the Ian Kinsler trade, threw six fastballs at 95 mph or higher in the sixth. All were strikes, and only one was put into play -- when Steven Souza Jr. swung late and hit a grounder down the first-base line that Jose Pujols fielded for an out.
"Great stuff," Scioscia said.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Pujols made a diving stop on his knees and threw from his back to retire Souza on a grounder that hugged the first-base line in the sixth, keeping a runner off second base while the Angels trailed, 3-0. Pujols remained down and was attended to by trainers before getting back on his feet and staying in the game. Pujols started both games at first base here, where the designated hitter is not used. More >

HE SAID IT
"Showed flashes of really good stuff, but had a little trouble repeating it. Hangs a 3-2 cutter to [Paul] Goldschmidt [on a home run], and it is 2-0. After that, he settled down and pitched well." -- Scioscia, on starter Odrisamer Despaigne, who allowed three runs in four innings in his second start with the Angels
UP NEXT
After Thursday's off-day, Andrew Heaney (7-7, 4.11 ERA) will make his third start this season against the Astros in the opener of a three-game series at Angel Stadium on Friday at 7:07 p.m. PT. Heaney is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA vs. the Astros this year, and he has a 1.08 ERA against them in four career starts. Houston counters with Dallas Keuchel (9-10, 3.59).

Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.