ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Home runs spoiled Tuesday’s homecoming for the Reds’ Tyler Mahle as Cincinnati fell to the Los Angeles Angels 5-1.
Mahle – a native of nearby Newport Beach who attended high school just 15 minutes from Angel Stadium – was coming off arguably his best game of 2019, in which he threw seven innings of two-run, four-hit ball in a no-decision against the AL West-leading Astros. On Tuesday night, however, he didn’t make it past the fifth.
The Reds and Angels traded home runs in the first inning. With a 2-1 count and the bases empty, Joey Votto — serving as the Reds’ designated hitter — hit a 94 mph sinker just over the center field wall to put the Reds on the board. The lead would prove to be short-lived. In the bottom of the inning, Angels leadoff hitter Tommy La Stella hit a 3-1 fastball to deep center that a leaping Nick Senzel couldn’t quite glove, and after an Angels-friendly carom, La Stella was able to round the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
A more traditional longball followed in the bottom of the second, when Los Angeles shortstop Luis Rengifo hit a 1-out, full-count fastball into the right-center bleachers to give the Angels a three-run lead that they never relinquished.
Tuesday’s game was just Cincinnati’s seventh ever at Angel Stadium, known locally as “the Big A.” During the team’s previous visit to Orange County in late 2016, the Angels had Cincinnati seeing red, outscoring the visitors 16-4 during a three-game sweep that saw Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton go a combined 2-for-33.
All-world outfielder Mike Trout, meanwhile, devoured Reds pitching over the course of that series, going 6-for-8 with three doubles and a home run en route to being named the American League’s Most Valuable Player for the second time.
Of course, Cincinnati pitchers aren’t the only ones who have trouble getting Trout out, as he’s having another monster season this year (.307/.466/.642 going into Tuesday’s game). Mahle, however, kept him relatively in check, as Trout managed only a harmless bloop single in three plate appearances before Mahle exited.
The Reds helped the Angels’ cause in each of the first three innings with base running blunders by Suarez and Jose Peraza and a threat-neutralizing double play by Yasiel Puig. Puig was later ejected after objecting to being called out on strikes. Manager David Bell was also tossed.
Mahle wasn’t the only Reds hurler pitching in his backyard, as Anaheim native Michael Lorenzen entered the game in the 7th. He yielded a leadoff single to La Stella to bring up Trout, whose fly-out to the base of the center field wall advanced pinch runner Wilfredo Tovar. Shohei Ohtani subsequently flew out to deep left, where Peraza – moved to the outfield after Puig’s ejection – began leisurely jogging toward the dugout, seemingly thinking that the inning was over. Tovar, however, never stopped running after tagging up from second and was able to beat Peraza’s throw home to pad the Angels’ lead.
Tuesday’s game marked the beginning of what is likely the Reds’ final series of the year without Scooter Gennett, who appears on track to make his 2019 debut this weekend following a three-month stint on the injured list.
I was interested to read in Steve Mancuso’s recent analysis of the Reds’ starting pitchers that in 2019, Mahle had thrown a first-pitch strike against 68% of the batters he faced. On Tuesday, he wasn’t quite as sharp to open the count, throwing first-pitch strikes to 12 of 23 batters.
A recent story in The Athletic noted that Joey Votto has a reputation for being a prolific talker. Right on cue, after walking in the top of the 3rd, Votto engaged in an animated conversation with Angels first baseman (and longtime Cardinal) Albert Pujols.
Phillip Ervin made two nice plays in deep left field to collect the final two outs of the bottom of the third.
Trout fouled off a pitch in the 7th that was caught by a gentleman — who was wearing a Trout jersey, no less — sitting directly in front of me along the first base side in shallow right field.
For the first time, I listened to a radio broadcast as I watched a game in person, and despite a two-pitch delay from real time, it was a pleasure to listen to Tommy Thrall and Jeff Brantley call the game. Brantley’s a gifted, engaging storyteller, and Thrall was an excellent foil who coaxed fun-to-hear stories out of The Cowboy. Kudos to both.
The Reds and Angels play again tomorrow afternoon at 8:07 PM ET. The starting pitching matchup features Tanner Roark for the Reds.
Up front, I confess my negative leaning when it comes to the current state of the Reds. When you can remember when the organization was the envy of baseball and then see other organizations doing real rebuilds within smaller windows, it is hard to see the glass half full.
Why is our baserunning so poor? Why does Peraza always have an expressionless dazed look on his face and play in a similar fashion more often than not?
The Reds have one series win this month. We are back in the cellar of the division. It reminds me of people who diet versus making permanent changes to their eating habits. You live a yo-yo existence that always leaves you where you started…and sometimes worse.
And while a 6-game winning streak cannot be ignored, the sweep (3 1-run wins) was against a team missing Springer, Correia and Altuve (ok, he returned for the final game). Along with Brantley, that’s their core. So we REALLY caught them at an ideal time…and we were at home.
Watching the careless baserunning (which is not a novel thing for this team) and the fielding miscues (also an occurrence we are more accustomed to seeing than we care to admit) and some of the at-bats of certain players makes it hard to imagine this team ever turning the corner.
Four days ago, writers on this site were talking about this team reaching .500 and citing how many games back of first place we were. Well, there are only 7 teams in MLB with worse records. We will be halfway through the season when the Cubs series wraps this coming Sunday. We play good teams from now until late July.
Will Scooter make a difference? We all hope so but we also know that one player has far less impact on a baseball team than they would in other sports.
I would like to see better plate appearances, higher OBPs, fewer mental and physical errors and more hustle. I can stomach losses better when I see solid fundamentals and a group that looks like they are fully engaged and focused.
The Reds are on pace to win the mildcard!
The Reds are blowing what was gained by the 6 game win streak. I don’t believe like some that they got lucky with a depleted Astros team. You’re supposed to beat a team in that situation especially when you’re at home. They however blew their chances to keep it going against the Brewers especially before heading west. Unfortunately this is an inconsistent team and that’s because of the lack of overall talent. The mental mistakes also continue to cause lots of problems. I still see a .500 team unless the Reds are sellers at the deadline. Then it could get ugly. But that’s part of the “plan” right?
Peraza just strikes me as a guy that lack self-confidence and needs playing time and moral support to maintain a high level of play. The problem is that there is nowhere on this team for him to get that playing time.
Physically, he’s ideal for a supersub role-speed, contact hitting, and versitility. Mentally, though, he’s simply not tough enough.
The Reds seem to think that is going to be his job but since he has played in more games then anybody not named Suarez it truly could be more then he can handle.If he is going to play pretty much every day then it makes sense to put him at one position and let him go for it or to reduce his playing time.I realize his age and his numbers from last year say he needs to play but trying to make him into a player that he isn’t does him or the team no good.
Puig wasn’t arguing the called strike 3, he was arguing the first called strike, which was clearly out of the strike zone.
Based on comments and reading articles about the game this morning, I am glad I went to bed and did not stay up to watch last night and was able to get up early and play golf sunrise golf before work today.
Sounds like a great game to not watch for a reds fan as everything that could have been done right was not.
Easy to blame a lot of folks for last nights little league performance.Senzel leads off the third with a double and we don’t get another hit until a lead off double in the ninth.Can’t beat anybody with that kind of offense.Same thing has happened countless times such as Saturday’s one run loss when the Reds went down in order the last 4 innings.Last night was the 16th time they have scored one run or less in a game this year which means it happens once every 5 games.Reds offense is just awful most of the time and the data supports it.Base running blunders and mental mistakes continue to happen because its allowed to happen and its not just a guy here or there cause its happened to almost everybody on this team at some point this year.Easy to make excuses for all of them.Some are rookie mistakes,some because guys are tired,some because guys are playing multiple positions etc etc.The reality is they are being made and made and made and as long as there are no reaction to them other then making excuses then they will continue to happen.Mahle wasn’t sharp but because of the offense being so bad every starter pitches in a high leverage situation every inning and when they do get a early lead its so foreign to them they don’t know how to pitch.Exciting year so far but 6 wins followed by now 3 losses kind of remind us how far we are away from actually competing.I still say we need to shop anybody and everybody at the deadline.
I am with you on that. I definitely am tired of seeing Peraza in the outfield and prefer that he be sent to AAA traded or whatever. He may be a super nice guy. He may be a great teammate but he just does not play well enough to warrant a spot on the 25 man roster. If you need an emergency SS bring Blandino up, bring back Van Meter at least they give you good at bats and keep their heads in the game. The brain freeze in left was not his first mistake of the night. The pop up by Trout earlier should have been easily caught even by a minor league 2’cnd baseman. And I don’t care about the “he was afraid of running into Senzel” nonsense. Senzel wasn’t close enough to that ball for Peraza to be hearing footsteps.
All is forgotten if your team wins. Why do many people hate the Yankees? They have a winning tradition.
This right here is why the Reds are a below .500 team.
Not a single comment about Puig failing to back up Senzel on that inside-the-park homer. Had Puig done his job (a la Davis in the ’90 NLCS vs. Bonilla) he might have nailed La Stella at third.