Suarez duels Cole, but Angels fall short in NY

August 17th, 2021

NEW YORK -- The Angels had a makeup game against the Yankees on Monday night, and the trip to Yankee Stadium proved to be disappointing as they were edged by New York, 2-1.

During the first five innings of the game, left-hander showed why he could be a big part of the Angels’ rotation moving forward. After allowing a two-run homer to Joey Gallo in the first inning, Suarez held New York at bay for the next four frames while striking out six batters.

“You saw pretty much what he is going to look like for many years to come,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He gave up the home run early, but he settled in. He has three outstanding pitches. What you saw that I liked was that he incorporated the curveball that [plays] to both righties and lefties. It takes pressure off his changeup. Having said those things, the fastball command makes all of that work.”

The way Suarez was throwing the baseball, Maddon was thinking that Suarez could pitch seven innings and save the bullpen.

But suddenly, in the sixth inning, Suarez lost control of all of his pitches. He walked the first two hitters he faced -- DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge -- on eight pitches. Suarez then walked Gallo on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.

"The sixth inning, I don’t know what happened," Suarez said. "I did everything the same. I just couldn’t find my location."

Suarez was then taken out of the game in favor of right-hander Steve Cishek, who was able to get out of the inning by striking out Giancarlo Stanton and inducing a double-play grounder off the bat of Luke Voit.

“Give Cishek credit for coming into that game and doing what he actually did,” Maddon said.   

“I was extremely happy,” Suarez said. “I left the game, bases loaded and nobody out, and then [Cishek] came in and got me out of the situation. I couldn’t be happier. I appreciate the job he did for me.”

Unfortunately for Suarez, he took the loss. It didn’t help that his teammates had a tough time against Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole, who pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed one run on two hits while striking out nine. Cole’s only blemish came in the first inning, when he allowed a homer to Justin Upton.

After Cole left the game in the sixth, the Angels couldn’t touch the Yankees’ bullpen, which allowed one hit in 3 1/3 innings with six strikeouts.

“The Yankees threw big arms at us all night,” Maddon said. “Cole had really good stuff and then the guys out of their bullpen -- all those dudes with no names -- all threw the ball really well. [Zack] Britton we know. [Albert] Abreu had good stuff. [Joely] Rodríguez we saw in Texas. They kept pouring quality stuff at us all night.”

In the sixth inning with Cole still on the mound, it looked like Shohei Ohtani might tie the ballgame up at 2. Ohtani hit a long fly ball to right-center field, but Stanton caught the ball on the warning track. Maddon wasn’t surprised that the ball didn’t go over the fence.

“The ball was not carrying today in the middle of that field,” Maddon said. “Even the one that Jo [Adell] hit [in the fifth inning should have been] at least off the wall or a homer, [but it was caught].”