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OC Register: Reeling Angels stretch losing streak to eight games


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BOSTON — Before the Angels’ losing streak reached eight games with a 16-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, Billy Eppler said the Angels fortunes are bound to turn sometime.

Why?

“Regression to the mean,” the Angels general manager said. “Water seeks its own level. We know our true talent level and we’ll play to it. Right now it’s just been a convergence of a lot of different circumstances out of our control.”

The Angels are enduring their longest losing streak since an 11-game streak in 2016. Overall they have lost 12 of their last 14 games, going from a season-high five games over .500 to five-games under .500, at 56-61.

During the eight-game losing streak, the Angels have been outscored 63-20, losing by an average of more than five runs a game. The negative-43 run differential was tied for the third worst eight-game stretch in franchise history. The two worse eight-game stretches were both part of the same 10-game span last September, in which the Angels actually won two games.

The Angels haven’t had a lead past the fourth inning in any of the past eight games, and they got that far only once. Ironically, it was Friday, when they led 3-1 in the fourth.

Over the past 14 games, they’ve been outscored 102-51.

“It’s kind of been the perfect storm of circumstances and adversity all coupled together,” Eppler said.

Andrelton Simmons, Griffin Canning, Andrew Heaney, Félix Peña, Noé Ramírez have all been on the injured list during this 14-game stretch.

They’ve also dealt with concurrent slumps from pretty much every hitter besides Mike Trout. The Angels also lost games because of ill-timed disastrous outings from Ty Buttrey and Taylor Cole, two of the relievers who had been the most consistent.

While young starters like Jaime Barría, Dillon Peters, José Suarez and Patrick Sandoval have at times pitched well enough to keep them in games, none has pitched well enough to overcome the team’s offensive issues.

And all of this started less than a month after the Angels lost Tyler Skaggs, adding a dose of real life tragedy to the on-field difficulties.

“The fabric of this club in that clubhouse is strong,” Eppler said. “I’m proud of how our guys have handled everything that’s been heaped on them… I know the fight and I know how much these guys support each other and how much they have each other’s backs. We’ve been through a lot as an organization. These are moments where trust develops. These are moments that people come out of and they’re better for it. That’s what we’re going through right now. We’ll come out of it stronger, no doubt.”

They came out on Friday in good shape, even getting a little good luck to get off to a quick lead.

With two outs, Justin Upton took a 3-and-2 pitch that seemed to catch the top of the strike zone, but it was called a ball by umpire Mark Ripperger. Albert Pujols then hit a three-run homer.

For the second time in three games, though, a first-inning three-run homer was not enough.

Barría gave a run back in the bottom of the inning and he allowed the Red Sox to tie it on a J.D. Martinez two-run homer in the fourth, his first of two homers. Barría gave up a two-run homer to Mookie Betts in the fifth, putting the Angels behind 5-3.

In the sixth, the game got out of hand. Justin Anderson retired just one of the four batters he faced, then Adalberto Mejia failed to get any outs among the four batters he faced. Trevor Cahill got a double play to escape the inning, but not before the Red Sox scored five runs to take a 10-3 lead.

More to come on this story.

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