José Suarez shows improvement in Angels’ loss to Justin Verlander, who records 3,000th strikeout

first_imgANAHEIM — Although the adjustments came too late to help the 2019 Angels, at least José Suarez provided a glimmer of hope for 2020 in his final outing of the season.Suarez, who made a mechanical adjustment last week, had his best outing of the season on Saturday, albeit in the Angels’ 6-3 loss to the Houston Astros.“That’s as good as Suarez has pitched all year,” Manager Brad Ausmus said.For a while, Suarez was actually pitching better than Justin Verlander, who recorded his 3,000th career strikeout among his 12 in six innings. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros “We’re all humans,” Bard said. “Being on two flights and a redeye affects you. You are not at your best self… I would show up in the first inning and be pitching in the fifth. It’s not ideal from a performance standpoint, but it’s part of it. You just make the best of it and try to do what you can to get through the day.”ALSOMike Trout was named the Angels MVP and Hansel Robles won the Nick Adenhart Award, which goes to the team’s best pitcher…The Angels have lost 89 games, the franchise’s most since 1999…Mark Langston, who had heart surgery after collapsing in the broadcast booth last week in Houston, is expected to return to Angel Stadium on Sunday. Langston will not be broadcasting the game…Brian Goodwin returned to the lineup after missing a game with back spasms. Goodwin was hurt sliding into second on Thursday…With one regular season game to go, the Angels are expecting to draw 3 million fans for the 17th consecutive season. The Angels and New York Yankees are the only teams to reach that milestone every year since 2003.UP NEXTAngels (LHP Dillon Peters, 4-3, 4.72) vs. Astros (RHP Gerrit Cole, 19-5, 2.52), 12:07 p.m. The Angels scored three runs against Verlander, on a Brian Goodwin solo homer and an Andrelton Simmons’ two-run homer.That provided a lead for Suarez, who seems to have improved from the adjustment to his delivery. Last week against the Astros, Suarez was limited to just two innings because the Angels just wanted him to work on his mechanics. He gave up one run.This time, the 21-year-old lefty got the start and began the game by retiring the first 10 Houston hitters. He got through the fifth without allowing a run.In the sixth, with the Astros sending the top of the order to the plate for the third time, Suarez cracked. He walked George Springer and then gave up a two-run homer to Altuve, ending his night.“That was actually a very good outing,” Ausmus said. “He was efficient. He threw up zeroes for the first five innings. In the six he gave up a couple. I was a little torn. I wanted him to end on a good note, but I wanted him to keep pitching. After the Altuve 2-run homer it was time to get him out so he could go into the offseason feeling good about his last outing. Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone center_img Suarez said through an interpreter that his “concentration” and “mechanics” were better than they had been.Suarez finished his rookie season with a 7.11 ERA in 81 innings. He gave up 22 homers. For much of the season, his issues were at least partly related to tipping his pitches. The Angels continued to send him to the mound because their rotation was so ravaged by injuries that they didn’t have options.While Suarez was trying to find his footing on Saturday, he was sharing the mound with a pitcher making history.Verlander became the 18th pitcher to reach the 3,000-strikeout plateau, achieving it in an unusual way.With one out in the fourth, Verlander got Kole Calhoun to swing at a third strike, but the ball skipped past catcher Robinson Chirinos and went back to the screen, allowing Calhoun to reach on the wild pitch.One pitch later, Simmons belted a two-run homer.Verlander then gave up a bloop single to Kevan Smith before settling in and retiring the next nine hitters. He struck out six of those nine, including getting Calhoun for his 300th strikeout of the season.PERFECT NO MORELuke Bard had been working on a perfect game for a couple weeks.Coming into Saturday’s game, Bard had retired 23 straight batters over his previous five games.Even more impressive, Bard’s streak came entirely against teams that are headed to the playoffs. He’s faced the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Oakland A’s and Houston Astros.Then it came to a crashing halt against the Astros on Saturday.Bard entered with a 3-2 lead and immediately walked Alex Bregman. Two outs later, he hit Aledmys Diaz. Then he gave up a three-run homer to Josh Reddick.Unfortunately for Bard, he likely ended his season on a sour note after being so good throughout September.“I feel good physically and just being up here and consistently getting outings in the big leagues helps,” he said before Saturday’s game.For most of the season, Bard had been on the shuttle between Triple-A and the majors. He said he’d been promoted nine separate times, often as a last-minute roster move to provide a fresh arm to the big league bullpen.Except, he’s not usually “fresh” when that happens.Related Articles Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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