It was yet another ugly start for Angels right-hander Julio Teheran, and this time he wasn't happy with manager Joe Maddon pulling him from the game with nobody out in the second inning.
Teheran scuffled from the start and gave up three runs on two homers over one-plus inning, and the Angels couldn't recover in a 7-2 loss to the Rangers on Sunday at Angel Stadium. It essentially knocked the Angels from postseason contention, as they now trail the Astros and Blue Jays by 4 1/2 games with six games remaining. The Angels fell to 23-31, clinching their fifth consecutive losing season.
“It's just been ongoing,” Maddon said of Teheran. “Everything's just a little bit off. I talked to him about it and let him know it was something I had to do. He understood that it was about the team first. But it wasn't going to get any better. And that's why I did what I did."
Teheran's spot in the rotation was tenuous after he gave up four runs on three homers over two innings Tuesday against the D-backs. But the Angels stuck with him on Sunday, and the decision backfired, especially after lefty Patrick Sandoval came in long relief and pitched well. Teheran fell to 0-4 with a 9.49 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) this year after coming into the season with a career 3.67 ERA in nine years with the Braves.
“To be honest, I felt I was better than the last time,” Teheran said. “Last time, I felt like I was missing even more. But today I felt like I had better stuff. My command was on point, I was making my pitches, obviously they were putting good swings on it. This is a tough one.”
Teheran served up a two-run shot to Joey Gallo in the first and then surrendered a leadoff blast to Anderson Tejeda in the second. After he walked Derek Dietrich on seven pitches, Maddon went to the mound to remove Teheran from the game after having thrown 31 pitches.
Teheran was clearly frustrated with the decision. The two continued to have a conversation in the dugout after Teheran was pulled. But after the game both Maddon and Teheran said they were on the same page after the discussion.
“I'm just reassuring him, that it's just this time of the year, it's not May, it's September,” Maddon said. “I told him, ‘I do need to have a shorter leash and it looked like they were on you. I know you're gonna work through this, I'm absolutely certain of that, but there's just no time to do it right now.’ And furthermore, I went on to point out that this is about the team first, which he totally agreed with, and that's pretty much the conversation.”
Teheran explained that he felt Andrew Heaney was given the chance to keep going after allowing three runs in the first inning on Saturday and wanted that same opportunity. Heaney ended up getting through 6 2/3 innings in a 4-3 win, but he was given that chance because he's pitched much better than Teheran this season.
“I felt like I could've stayed out there,” Teheran said. “You saw what Heaney did last night. He gave up a couple runs and kept us in the game, and I think it was the reason we won the game. That was in my mind as a starting pitcher. You want to stay in the game and compete."
Cam Bedrosian bridged the gap to Sandoval with 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run. Sandoval went 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits with seven strikeouts. Sandoval had been a candidate to start the game, but Teheran was announced as the starter on Friday. It appears likely that Sandoval will get the next start instead of Teheran, but the Angels will almost certainly be eliminated from postseason contention by then.
“We just liked going the way we did,” Maddon said. “I really was anticipating a better result out of Teheran. If he did that, then it would have been set up perfectly for [Sandoval] after that.”