Last Monday, Dylan Bundy failed to get out of the second inning against the New York Yankees, prompting Joe Maddon to turn to Jose Suarez for long relief. The move paid off in a big way, as he pitched 5.1 innings of one-run baseball in an Angels win. Following the game, Maddon announced the decision that Suarez would move to the starting rotation and Bundy would go to the bullpen.
Fast forward to Monday of this week, when the Angels were matched up against the formidable Boston Red Sox. Rather than Bundy taking the mound in the top of the first, it was Suarez, who was sporting a 1.98 ERA in long relief outings this season. His first start of the year did not have the same success.
Suarez needed 75 pitches to get through three innings, ultimately giving up two runs on three hits and four walks. This time, it was Bundy who came for the long relief outing. Maddon spoke about what he saw from Suarez in his first start of the year, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I thought he got a little quick, body wise,” Maddon said. “He just got out of that real nice pace… I think after the home run he just started to speed up his mind a little bit. It happens. It happens to all of us. I think it’s a good learning experience for him.”
Despite Suarez not being nearly at his best, the Angels still had opportunities to win the game. They lost 5-4, but can point to several moments to say they could have — or even should have — won.
There was a Luis Rengifo two-run home run that was robbed by Kike Hernandez, then Jose Rojas was called out at home plate on a review despite being called safe on the field. The Red Sox also made incredible defensive plays all night long that saved themselves.
Overall, the Angels should be happy with their efforts in Monday’s loss. Hopefully, Suarez is able to bounce back for his next start, which is currently slated to be the team’s second-to-last game before the All-Star break.
Statuses on injured Angels still unclear
There is hope that Anthony Rendon and Taylor Ward will be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox, when Shohei Ohtani is on the mound. However, there is some uncertainty for that and for Justin Upton’s return from the 10-day IL.