It’s still early. No need to panic. That was the message earlier in the week from members of the Los Angeles Angels as it relates to the bullpen’s late-game struggles.
Insurance runs don’t get you what they used to. The Angels added one in the bottom of the 8th to take a 2-0 lead against Houston on Thursday night.
The ninth, however didn’t go according to plan. For the second consecutive night, closer Huston Street blew a save. Unlike the night before, there was no walk-off magic as the Angels fell to the first place Astros, 3-2.
Is it time to panic now?
"There’s not going to be any panic," Angels skipper Mike Scioscia said. "Obviously there’s some adjustments. He’ll get it right. This guy’s stuff is still good. He’s one of the best closers in baseball and he’ll be there for us."
Street allowed a leadoff single to Colby Rasmus that Kole Calhoun nearly caught for an out. The Angels’ right fielder moved forward to dive for the ball and get his glove on it but was unable to squeeze it.
The Angels’ closer proceeded to allow four of the next five Houston batters to reach base. He faced a total of seven Astros’ hitters in the bottom of the ninth before he was pulled from the game after giving up the lead.
Despite the lack of success, he doesn’t believe he threw the ball poorly.
"You say ‘Am I making bad pitches?’ " Street said. "I didn’t make any real, bad pitches tonight. I just left a couple of pitches up and that’s baseball.
"I just got to trust my stuff and keep going back out there because I feel like if I throw the ball like I did tonight, more times than not, you’ll get good results. It just didn’t happen tonight like that."
Street was tagged with the loss after lasting 0.2 innings, giving up four hits and three earned runs. He also walked one. For Street, it was the first time in seven years he’s recorded back-to-back blown saves. Thursday’s blown save spoiled what was another impressive outing from starter Hector Santiago, who only gave up one hit in 6.1 innings. He struck out five and walked four — one was intentional — and was called for two balks.
It’s once again time to discuss silver linings and, for Thursday at least, Santiago was that.
"I think Hector’s pitching with, probably, more confidence than he’s ever pitched with in his career and that’s good to see," Scioscia said. "When he needed a pitch, he made it."