Before tonight’s game, the Angels had lost every game started by Jason Castro and won every game started by Max Stassi. With Mike Trout out of the lineup due to paternity leave, Joe Maddon needed all the help he could get. And he carded Stassi in the lineup for that help.
It didn’t work. The Angels are now 2-5, which is basically the equivalent of 6-14 in a 162-game schedule.
The game didn’t start prettily, as José Marmolejos took a Dylan Bundy fastball (read: his worst pitch) deep in the first inning for his first career home run. It wasn’t much, but the Trout-less offense was unable to muster much in response. Bundy actually pitched well for the most part, but it’s these types of pitches that may prevent him from taking the next step. Bundy finished six whole innings, allowing just those three runs on four hits and two walks, striking out eight. His offspeed stuff was working once again, which is a bright sign for the future, if less so for the present.
The Angels got their first hit in the fourth inning on a Brian Goodwin infield single. In the fifth, Shed Long Jr. misplayed a sinking Taylor Ward liner, allowing the utility man to reach base. And Max Stassi, trying to prove the prophecy, crushed the baseball. His team-leading second homer of the season gave the Angels hope, as Angel-killer Marco Gonzales continued to cruise on the mound.
Los Angeles got close, and there was a sense that the Angels could come back against this erstwhile cellar-dwelling team. Shohei Ohtani reached second with one out in the seventh, but Albert Pujols struck out and Ward grounded out.
In the ninth, the Mariners blew the game wide open (scoring five runs) against Hansel Robles and Kyle Keller, and the Stassi prophecy was over. The Angels made a dent with Shohei Ohtani’s oppo-taco, but it wouldn’t matter in the end.