Silseth takes lessons from second career start

May 21st, 2022

ANAHEIM -- After a strong Major League debut last Friday against the A's, allowing just one hit in six innings, Angels right-hander  was tasked with facing Oakland again in his second career start on Friday.

But Silseth couldn't quite repeat his sterling debut, as he went 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks in a 4-2 loss to the A's in the series opener at Angel Stadium. It marked a fourth straight defeat for the Angels, who were swept in a three-game series in Texas.

"I'm pretty hard on myself with the lack of execution when I had guys 0-2 or 1-2," said Silseth, who fell to 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA. "I ended up walking a guy [despite being ahead in the count 0-2], and that can't happen. You come up and you live and you learn. I came up and experienced getting hit around, we'll make a change and a plan to get back in it."

Silseth, though, still showed potential, as he struck out six and registered 13 swings-and-misses, including six with his slider and four with his splitter. Silseth, the first player from the 2021 Draft to reach the Majors, nearly struck out four batters in the second inning after Kevin Smith struck out on a wild pitch and made it to first base safely. Silseth got ahead of Sheldon Neuse with an 0-2 count, but Neuse lined out to short to end the inning.

Silseth, who turned 22 on Wednesday, did enough to continue to get a look as part of the six-man rotation, according to Angels manager Joe Maddon. The Angels have an off-day on Monday, but they plan to use it as an extra day of rest for their starters instead of going to a five-man rotation in the short term.

"He threw the ball well again,” Maddon said. “The home run got him at the end. A couple of them did. But I liked the aggressive nature and his stuff. He's very confident. Seeing them repeatedly in the short amount of time probably helped them, but I thought he attacked and pitched really well."

Silseth, the club’s No. 16 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was hurt by a pair of home runs, as he gave up a solo shot to Jed Lowrie in the first and a two-run long ball to Seth Brown in the fifth. Lowrie's homer came on a 1-1 splitter, while Brown went deep on a 2-2 fastball that caught too much of the plate. Home runs haven't really been much of an issue for Silseth in his two years of professional baseball, however, as he'd given up just three in 31 1/3 innings in the Minors.

“I think it was probably just a lack of execution,” Silseth said. “I think just leaving balls over the middle of the plate. They can be good pitches, but if they're over the middle of the plate, anyone can hit it. When I was executing pitches, it went really well, so I think that was the biggest thing."

Silseth went back out for the fifth at 75 pitches after having thrown 81 pitches in his last outing and was tasked with facing the top of Oakland’s order. But the decision didn’t pan out, as he walked Lowrie with one out before giving up the go-ahead two-run homer to Brown despite getting ahead in the count, 0-2. He then hit Ramón Laureano with a 2-1 slider on his 93rd pitch of the game and was removed for reliever Kyle Barraclough. Barraclough escaped the jam with Laureano getting caught stealing before striking out Sean Murphy.

"We had him at 90-100 [pitches] today," Maddon said. "He was doing well until the homer."

Silseth had thrown as many as 90 pitches in the Minors this season and 88 in each of his last two starts with Double-A Rocket City until his promotion, so it wasn't out of the norm to have him reach 93 pitches. Silseth said he dealt with a little bit of fatigue late in his outing, but it wasn’t anything unusual.

“I’m still just trying to get acclimated to a routine up here,” Silseth said. “It shouldn’t really be any different, but I’m just trying to find a routine that fits me up here. But I felt good.”