The fact that the Angels’ as offense took the afternoon off on Tuesday wasn’t any great surprise 24 days into this strange, shortened season.
The fact that burly right-hander Dylan Bundy would join the offense in a siesta was definitely out of the ordinary.
Bundy, 27, has been a revelation since arriving from the Baltimore Orioles in a trade for four minor leaguers. He took a 1.57 ERA into his start Tuesday after four excellent starts.
But in 98-degree heat with 75-percent humidity, Bundy never found the command that has served him so well the last month and was touched up for four runs in four innings by the visiting San Francisco Giants.
It all added up to an 8-2 loss to the less-than-intimidating Giants, as the Angels (8-16) closed a dismal homestand. Tuesday’s loss flattened any energy the Angels carried forward from Monday’s walk-off win against the Giants on Tommy La Stella’s walkoff home run.
Bundy had thrown more than 100 pitches in his two previous starts, and was given extra days off and pitched on six days’ rest rather than his usual four.
It only took four pitches before it appeared that maybe Bundy had too much rest.
The Giants’ leadoff man, the red-hot Mike Yastrzemski, crushed an elevated fastball from Bundy into the right-field seats for a 1-0 lead and the game was barely minutes old.
Even Bundy admitted at that point that maybe he didn’t have it on this particular day.
“I kind of expected him to hit that one out,” said Bundy, who never found the command of his slider — one of the secondary pitches that had served him so well in his hot start to the season.
Said Angels manager Joe Maddon: “Nothing was working from the very beginning, and you saw it. He didn’t have his typical command of everything like he has had. Fastball was getting hit … he tried to elevate it a few times and it got whacked.”
After walking Evan Longoria in the second inning, Bundy tried to sneak an 0-2 four-seam fastball past Giants’ rotund slugger Pablo Sandoval. The pitch was almost at his eyes, but Sandoval swatted that into the seats in right for a 3-1 San Francisco lead.
“That’s kind of where I wanted to throw it way up there, because I know he can hit certain pitches,” Bundy said. “You just gotta tip your cap to him for hitting that one out. Not much I can do on that.”
The Angels tied the score at 1-1 against former Angel Trevor Cahill when La Stella hit his second homer in as many games. But after that, the Angels couldn’t budge Cahill much.
Yastrzemski made a belly-first diving catch of David Fletcher’s line drive that would have scored two runs in the second. Fletcher’s 16-game hitting streak came to end partially because of that catch.
But the Angels’ bats did nothing much against an underwhelming Giants bullpen, which entered the game as one the worst in the major leagues.
One of those relievers, Shaun Anderson, sparked a bit of controversy with a wild spell in which he barely missed hitting Mike Trout in the head with a pair of wayward fastballs, causing the umpiring crew to gather around the mound.
Trout reached on a walk and later scored on an RBI groundout by Shohei Ohtani.
Both managers denied there was any intent by Anderson to hit Trout after the game.
“That’s just a young man who’s not ready to be here yet, that’s all that is,” said Maddon. “There was no intent, this kid has had command issues. Like a lot of young pitchers, they don’t know where their fastball is going.”
After the game, the Angels embarked on their longest road trip of this shortened season. The Halos will face the Giants in a pair of games in San Francisco and then travel on to Oakland and Houston.
Left-hander Patrick Sandoval (0-2, 3.94 ERA) will oppose the Giants’ Johnny Cueto (1-0, 4.63) on Wednesday at San Francisco’s Oracle Park. On Thursday, the Angels will likely send Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.74) to the mound against Kevin Gausman (0-1, 4.21).
The Angels recalled right-hander Jaime Barria from their alternate site on Monday, sending down outfielder Taylor Ward. He could have been a candidate to start Thursday’s game but Barria was needed to pitch 4.1 innings of four-strikeout relief on Tuesday.