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OC Register: Emergency starter Nick Tropeano roughed up in Angels’ loss


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    ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 26: Nick Tropeano #35 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches in the first inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 26, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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ANAHEIM — When the Angels, desperate for a starting pitcher, called on Nick Tropeano to pitch on Friday night, they had two objectives.

They needed him to pitch well enough to give them a chance to win, and they needed him to pitch long enough for them to rest their bullpen, giving them a chance to win in subsequent days.

At least Tropeano accomplished one of those.

Tropeano gave up six runs in the second inning of a 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, but he still lasted five innings and allowed most of the other Angels pitchers to get a break after Thursday’s 16-inning loss.

That loss, as it turns out, was doubly crushing for the Angels, because it required them to use scheduled Friday starter Griffin Canning, which in turn meant they had to call up Tropeano to start. Tropeano has slipped far down the organizational depth chart because of injuries and ineffectiveness over the past few years.

Tropeano was at one point one of the pitchers the Angels hoped would become a core of their rotation.

In his first 25 games with the Angels, from 2014-16, he posted a 3.81 ERA. Then he had Tommy John surgery, followed by continued shoulder trouble, and he hasn’t been the same.

Tropeano has been healthy since late April, but his results have been disappointing. In 49-1/3 innings in Triple-A, Tropeano posted a 7.66 ERA. Even adjusting for the extremely hitter-friendly environment of the Pacific Coast League, that’s a disturbing number.

Tropeano had pitched two previous games in the big leagues this year, both when circumstances left the Angels desperate for a pitcher. He had allowed eight runs in 8-2/3 innings in those games.

This time, the Angels were desperate again after using Canning for the 15th and 16th innings early Friday morning.

Tropeano gave up a run in the first without allowing a hit, but in the second he was blasted for six runs.

Two of the first three hitters to reach base in the inning were walked. Third baseman David Fletcher then made a backhand stop down the line and tried to get an out at second instead of first, and got no one.

Tropeano then allowed a two-run single to Anthony Santander and a three-run homer to Renato Nunez, who went the other way with a 1-and-1 sinker at the knees.

Down 7-0, Tropeano buckled down after that. He got through the fifth inning, which certainly had to go down as a victory after the way he started.

Justin Anderson and Luís García then pitched two innings apiece to rest the other relievers.

The Angels had time to get back in the game, but they did little with right-hander Asher Wojciechowski.

Coming off a game in which he’d held the Boston Red Sox to one hit over 7-1/3 scoreless innings, Wojciechowski held the Angels to two runs on three hits in seven innings.

The Angels didn’t have a baserunner until Shohei Ohtani’s triple in the fourth, and they didn’t score until Matt Thaiss hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

More to come on this story.

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