Angels look to send Diamondbacks to ninth straight loss

MLB Baseball

The Los Angeles Angels are hoping right-hander Alex Cobb can put together another workmanlike performance when he takes the mound on Saturday afternoon against the host Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle game of a three-game series in Phoenix.

After all, the Angels could use some normalcy after Friday’s wild game.

The Angels were one strike away from winning the series opener when Eduardo Escobar tied the game with a solo home run off Angels closer Rasiel Iglesias after he had struck out the first two batters on six pitches.

Los Angeles went on to win 6-5 in the 10th after Diamondbacks reliever Ryan Buchter was called back to the mound after he was accidently removed by manager Torey Lovullo before he had faced the minimum three batters.

Buchter immediately hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch to load the bases and the Angels eventually scored the go-ahead run.

The Angels called on Steve Cishek and Alex Claudio to pitch the 10th, even though neither had been in a save situation this season, but they retired the side to close out the win.

Runners also crossed the plate on a balk, a wild pitch and a dropped third strike during the game.

“Lots of crazy things happened,” said Angels catcher Max Stassi, who had the game-winning RBI groundout in the 10th on Friday. “That’s the interesting thing about baseball. You never know what you’re going to see each and every day.”

Cobb (4-2, 4.24 ERA) will be trying to win his fourth straight start.

He benefited from solid run support in his last outing while allowing five runs in seven innings in a 12-5 win against the visiting Seattle Mariners on June 5.

Cobb has never faced the Diamondbacks in his 10-year career, but Arizona players with experience against Cobb, who include Asdrubal Cabrera, Escobar, Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt, are a combined 6-for-47 with 14 strikeouts.

He’ll face an Arizona team that’s lost eight in a row and has been shut out eight times this season.

After combining for three runs in their previous three games, the team fired hitting coach Darnell Coles and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske on Thursday.

The Diamondbacks managed five runs on Friday but still lost.

“Moving forward, I want to create a certain offensive identity that means we are going to battle and fight and have a very, very unpredictable game plan that’s going to beat any pitcher,” Lovullo said. “Whether it’s the best pitcher or somebody in the back end of a bullpen.”

The Diamondbacks are scheduled to start left-hander Caleb Smith (2-2, 3.14), who has made two straight solid starts since rejoining the rotation. He last pitched on Sunday at the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing one run and three hits in five innings of a 2-0 loss.

Smith made his only major league appearance against the Angels in September and went two innings in the start, allowing two runs and three hits, including a solo homer by Stassi.

–Field Level Media

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