ANAHEIM: The Angels’ No. 10 starter hasn’t done very well.
Then again, No. 10 starters usually don’t.
David Huff got knocked out in the second inning of the Angels’ 8-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday (Monday in Manila), his second poor outing in two starts.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Mike Trout left the game after getting hit by a pitch, although X-rays were normal and he said he hopes to play on Monday.
The last thing the Angels need is another injury added to the mess that their pitching staff has become.
Of the eight starters who began spring training, five are working back from injuries.
The other three are currently in the rotation, plus Jhoulys Chacin, who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves last month.
The 10th is Huff, a journeyman lefty who signed with the Angels last month after he opted out of his minor-league deal with the Kansas City Royals.
Although it’s tempting to be critical of the Angels for giving Huff the ball instead of, say, Kyle Kendrick or prospect Nate Smith, there is no guarantee either of them would have been any better. Few teams have so much depth that they could withstand this volume of injuries without having to turn to someone like Huff.
Huff seems to only be keeping the spot warm for No. 11 … Tim Lincecum, who was scheduled to make his third start for Triple-A Salt Lake City on Sunday.
“If we’re going to start to get this thing going in the direction it needs to, the first thing in order has to be the rotation, which I think will start to help our bullpen heal,” Scioscia said. “Tim will be a step in the right direction, for sure.”
Huff didn’t do much with his time in the rotation, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) in 51/3 innings in two starts. On Sunday, he got just five outs, although his game may have been different if not for an error by third baseman Jefry Marte in the second.
Huff nonetheless allowed five hits, including homers to Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana, who hit a second homer in the ninth against Fernando Salas.
“(Huff) threw a couple good breaking balls but he never got his good stuff into the game, where he could use his changeup in and change speeds, and hit some spots,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He had a tough outing.”
The short outing forced the Angels to run through six relievers, their entire bullpen except closer Huston Street. They will need to bring up another reliever on Monday – probably at the expense of Huff’s roster spot – to freshen up the bullpen.
The Angels have had their starters finish six innings just twice in the last five games, and in three of those games the starter was out without finishing four.
“There is no doubt, we can’t absorb this week,” Scioscia said. “We’ve used our bullpen a lot. We’re going to have to regroup a little bit.”