Angels pitching beat up by Rangers in loss

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday’s rubber match with the Texas Rangers had the probability of being a “Staff Day” with Michael Roth on the mound making his first career start.

Roth was scoreless through his first three innings.

The Rangers batters tried to battle him, including a 7-pitch at-bat by leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler to start the game, but the Angels rookie hung tough and allowed the Rangers to spray three meaningless singles through three innings.

“Michael pitched his heart out,” Scioscia said of his starting pitcher.

Then, the bottom fell out. The Rangers sent 14 batters to the plate — Roth faced six of them — in the 9-run fourth inning en route to a 11-3 win over the Angels.

Adrian Beltre drew a walk against Roth to start the inning. The next four batters got on as well, including RBI singles from A.J. Pierzynski and David Murphy. Roth actually struck out the last batter he faced, Mitch Moreland, before being pulled by Scioscia with the Rangers up 2-0.

“I labored a little bit in the fourth and just didn’t have some things go my way,” Roth said. “Probably the biggest problems were the two walks. The leadoff walk always puts you in a bad position.”

Roth left the game with the bases loaded and Scioscia turned to a bullpen that had been taxed by innings and injury. With Scioscia declaring Scott Downs, Ernesto Frieri, and Dane De La Rosa all likely unavailable before Wednesday night’s game, the Angels skipper turned to David Carpenter. And the Rangers turned on him.

Carpenter, for his efforts, lasted just 0.1 innings. He walked Kinsler, the first batter he faced, to bring in a run. By the time his outing was done the Rangers tagged him for four earned runs on just 19 pitches.

The Angels bullpen gave up six runs, all earned, on five hits Wednesday night and the bullpen reached its limit. There was no one left in the bullpen when Jerome Williams came into the game to pitch the final three innings.

Carpenter was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake following the game and pitching help is expected to be on the way as the club heads to Seattle for a three-game series beginning Thursday night. However, managing the pitching staff, with all of its issues, continues to be a challenge for Scioscia.

“I think on the pitching side with a couple of guys out we’re trying to find some continuity and some roles in our bullpen,” Scioscia said. “We tried to squirm our way out of that fourth inning and we had to try to just let guys pitch a little bit on a night like tonight because of the situation we were in with a lot of guys down.”

With the pitching in flux, the offense was also silent not being able to get to Rangers starter Yu Darvish on Wednesday night. Darvish pitched six shutout innings. He struck out 11 and allowed just three hits.

It’s a somber ending to a homestand that saw the club go 4-2, including a three-game sweep of the Tigers over the weekend.

“After a game like tonight, sometimes it’s tough to go back and feel good about the way we’re playing,” Scioscia said. “But, we are.”