NCAA Football

Playoff hopes fade for Angels as losing streak reaches 6

September 23, 2017

HOUSTON — The Angels are quietly slipping out of the playoff chase.

The Angels lost, 6-2, to the Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon, dropping their sixth straight game, a season-worst streak.

Until Justin Upton’s solo homer in the seventh, his first of two, the Angels had gone 23 consecutive innings without a run.

With just eight games to go, the Angels fell four games out of a playoff spot, pending the outcome of the Minnesota Twins’ game on Saturday night.

The slide has come, not surprisingly, during a difficult stretch in which they had nine of 12 games against the Astros and Cleveland Indians, the two best teams in the league. The Angels have lost seven of eight so far, with one to go on Sunday.

The Angels have cold hitters throughout the lineup, most notably Mike Trout. His second straight hitless game extended his slump to 9 for 57 (.158). The stretched-thin pitching staff that has been unable to overcome the lack of support.

Injuries in the rotation forced the Angels into another bullpen game on Saturday, and the relievers they used weren’t even their best. Only one of the pitchers who worked Saturday was on the opening day roster.

That was Bud Norris, a non-roster invitee who made the team as a reliever but has now gotten the ball twice to start bullpen games. Norris gave up one run in 3⅓ innings.

The game got away under the watch of 22-year-old Eduardo Paredes, who started the season in Double-A. Paredes retired the first two hitters in the fifth, but then he hit Alex Bregman, and gave up hits to Marwin Gonzalez, Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis. Gattis hit a three-run homer, capping the four-run inning and putting the Angels in a 5-0 hole.

At the time, they had only two hits against Charlie Morton, who had mostly held them to weakly hit grounders and popups.

The Angels got the first two men on in the sixth, but stranded them. Trout was called out on strikes to end the inning. In the seventh, after Upton’s homer, the Angels got two more base runners, but they couldn’t manage a hit to drive them in.

More to come on this story.

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