Rendon hits first HR, but pitching depth gets more concerning

May 8th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- For the second straight game, the Angels used an everyday player on the mound. And for the second straight game, it was not

Ranger runners crossed the plate with frequency late Saturday and early Sunday. 

After allowing Texas to plate seven ninth-inning runs on Saturday, which prompted the need to use , the Angels gave up 11 over a three-inning span on Sunday and tacked on five more in the seventh for a 16-8 drubbing in the series finale. 

’s assortment of 50-mph tosses in the ninth prevented the Rangers from adding on. He was the only Los Angeles pitcher to not give up a run.

Manager Phil Nevin’s hope for consistency within his starting rotation remains on hold. More concerning is his need for healthy pitchers. was unable to follow up a solid performance against Milwaukee. Discomfort in his left shoulder forced his exit in the third inning after the Rangers got seven runs on 74 pitches. 

A two-run homer from Ezequiel Duran cut into a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Suarez said it was around this time that he started to feel something wasn’t right. 

“I was trying to fight, beginning in that second inning,” Suarez said. “but just couldn’t handle the pain.”

Suarez went back out for the third, and a Leody Taveras bouncer went over the head of and into left field for Texas’ fourth and fifth runs. The next batter, Josh Smith, ripped a 107.7-mph liner that cleared the low fence in right. It was also Suarez’s last batter. After a brief conference with Nevin and trainer Mike Frostad, he was replaced by . An MRI is scheduled for Monday. 

“He never said anything up until [that last pitch],” Nevin said. “He had never brought it to our attention.”

“I thought I could hold on,” Suarez said. “I wanted to pitch, but I couldn’t.”

For a team that had Austin Warren, José Quijada and Aaron Loup recently go down with injuries, the situation with Suarez adds more concern -- specifically in regards to starting pitching depth.

“When any of my players get injured, I’m concerned about it,” Nevin said. “In particular, our starting rotation. Where we go from here, I’m not sure.” 

The spate of earned runs obscured the performance of a defense that did Angels pitching no favors.

Taveras’ two-out single was preceded by a passed ball from , moving both runners into scoring position. Texas’ four-spot in the fourth was marred when a grounder to Rendon wasn't handled cleanly. With Nathaniel Lowe going for home, Rendon fired late to Thaiss, who tried to apply the tag, but the ball went free far enough for Adolis García to also score.

The poor play in the field, as Nevin pointed out, went beyond just the three errors.

“We played horribly defensively,” Nevin said. “Alignments, not understanding runners, passed balls. We did a lot wrong. The game should not have been where it got to. We pitched a lot better than that.”

Silseth did prevent the bullpen from being taxed further. He pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth innings and departed after 72 pitches over 3 1/3 innings. inherited two runners, both of which came around on Garcia’s ninth homer of the season.

Rendon spent nearly a year before he could enjoy a trot around the bases. He missed most of 2022 and had gone homerless in 83 at-bats to start 2023. But Rendon ended his drought when he took an inside cutter from Martín Pérez and lifted it 390 feet into the left-field seats. The three-run blast gave the Angels an early lead and was his first since May 17, 2022. 

Despite the eight runs and 12 hits, Los Angeles missed additional opportunities to score. On three occasions, the Angels loaded the bases.

Rendon cashed in with a soft third-inning RBI single, which was followed by ’s sacrifice fly. That cut the deficit to 7-5, but the threat was limited when hit into a double play.

Twice, Renfroe came up with two down. In the fourth, he grounded into a forceout. In the sixth, he flied to shallow right field. 

His home run in the ninth did nothing to brighten the mood as the Angels await their first meeting with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. 

“We played too well over the last week to have [those mistakes] happen,” Nevin said.