Suarez takes another step forward vs. A's

September 19th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- It looked like it might be a short night for Angels lefty .

Suarez struggled in the first inning, allowing three runs, but bounced back to get through 5 2/3 innings in a 3-1 loss to the A's on Saturday at Angel Stadium. It was another step in the development of Suarez, who didn't allow his issues in the opening frame to affect him the rest of the game.

"When he came out of the game, I told him, 'Listen, you didn't have your best everything tonight but you got deeply into this game and that's a really good sign,’” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "I wanted him to take that away from his appearance tonight."

Suarez allowed three runs on six hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings to fall to 7-8 with a 3.67 ERA in 88 1/3 innings. He's been pitching deeper into games recently, averaging 6 2/3 innings over his last three starts. It’s something the left-hander is continuing to work on, as he’s learning to trust his stuff and throw strikes.

But Suarez had trouble putting away hitters with two strikes in the first. The A’s scored the first run on a solo homer from Matt Olson, who connected on an 0-2 fastball above the zone. Chad Pinder brought home a run on an RBI double on a 1-2 changeup on the outside corner, while Matt Chapman doubled home another run on a 1-2 changeup over the middle of the plate.

"The home run, I felt like he was looking for it,” Suarez said through an interpreter. “And the other hits, I was trying to go after guys but I didn't really have my command. They were able to get after my changeup a little bit."

Suarez, though, settled down and didn’t allow a run the rest of the way until being lifted in the sixth.

"When they scored the three runs off me in the first, I tried to keep my mind off that,” Suarez said. “I just wanted to stay out there and compete."

Suarez was taken out after throwing 96 pitches. Throughout his evening, he continued to mix in his curveball more, tossing 43 fastballs, 28 curveballs and 25 changeups, getting six swings and misses with the change, three with the four-seamer and one with his curve. Suarez had previously been mostly reliant on his changeup as his secondary pitch.

"The change was OK, the curveball was OK and he started out with a good fastball but it didn't seem to carry over,” Maddon said. “But he's a kid who almost pitched six innings against a really good ballclub, and did it based on a lot of guile and guts -- and the fact that he's turning into a big league pitcher."

Suarez didn’t get much help from the offense, however. The Angels didn’t score until the seventh inning, aided by an overturned call at first base. It appeared that reliever Deolis Guerra reached first in time for a double play to end the inning, but the ball popped out of his glove as he hit the ground.

The Angels won the challenge and it immediately paid off, as Jose Rojas followed with an RBI single. But Max Stassi struck out looking for the third time to end the potential rally.

Stassi had a chance to be hero again in the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, but he was robbed of a potential game-tying hit with a leaping catch from Josh Harrison at second base. It was sno-cone catch from Harrison, a play that epitomized the Angels’ struggles against the A’s this year, as they fell to 4-14 against their AL West rivals.

“He had to time that jump perfectly, and he did,” Maddon said. “It wasn't scorched. But it was one of those things that normally it just gets over somebody's glove, but it didn't. And that's been the tale of the tape for us against them this year. We've had a lot of those games, and we just have to keep fighting to break through and beat them."