Found May 20, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
SAN DIEGO At the end of a very bizarre, very long, very emotionally deflating day, the Angels were left with two important issues that now define their season. First, they are clearly an offensively challenged team that continually fails to produce with runners in scoring position. Second, injuries are beginning to take a toll. That's a bad combination for a team that has yet to establish a winning profile, that looks good one day but horrible the next, that can't seem to do the things that mark a championship team. Where do they go from here? After losing two of three games to the San Diego Padres a team with a worse record than their own the Angels are forced into making some unexpected moves. Following a 3-2 loss in 13 innings at Petco Park, manager Mike Scioscia said that left fielder Vernon Wells and backup outfielder Ryan Langerhans would not accompany the club to Oakland after both were injured during the game. Scioscia said both will be evaluated Monday and are probably headed for the disabled list. Wells injured his right thumb when he crashed into the wall chasing Yonder Alonso's double in the third inning. Langerhans, who entered the game in the bottom of the 10th as one of several moves made by Scioscia during the game, also ran into the wall in the 11th pursuing John Baker's fly ball. Wells, whose right hand was wrapped after the game, will have an MRI on Monday to learn the extent of his injury, but he didn't dispute Scioscia's early prognosis. "That's a good estimation," Wells said of the possibility of going on the DL. "I'll get into more detail when I find out exactly what happened in there, but it doesn't feel too good right now." Any roster moves the Angels make are likely to include adding a pitcher. They used 21 players Sunday, including six relievers who combined to throw 6 23 innings without giving up an earned run. Their focus has to be promoting someone who can eat innings as they open a three-game series against the A's. There's also the absence of Torii Hunter. He remains in Texas to tend to legal matters involving his son, who is accused of sexual assault involving a minor, but Scioscia has given no specific timetable for a return. Without him, the Angels are missing three outfielders. "Torri's status is his status," Scioscia said. "When things are settled to where he's comfortable coming back, that's when we'll get him out here playing for us." On Saturday, Scioscia indicated that Hunter might be back at some point during the current road trip, which includes stops in Oakland and Seattle, but now the need for his services seems more pressing. The Padres scored the winning run when Howie Kendrick, pressed into service as a left fielder after Wells and Langerhans went down, had trouble picking up a single to left-center by Will Venable. Clayton Richard, who hit a two-out single off David Pauley, came around to score on the fielding error. Don't blame Kendrick. Although he played left field in 23 games last season, he has been a second baseman exclusively this year and had to deal with an afternoon shadow. "None of those things really factored in," he said. "I could see the ball fine and I had a little experience in left field last year. It wasn't like I hadn't been out there before. I can't tell you I was uncomfortable being out there. Balls like that you've got to keep in front and make sure they don't get past you. I ended up making a mistake." Nothing about the game fit into the norm. Pitcher Dan Haren was used as a pinch hitter in the 13th inning (the first time that's happened since Omar Olivares pinch hit for the Angels in 1998), and several others played out of position. Besides Kendrick, Albert Pujols finished the game at third base, catcher Bobby Wilson played first base and Mike Trout moved from center field to left and back to center. "When you see that many moves in one game and the injuries on top of it, it's not something we wanted to happen," Wells said. "They capitalized on an opportunity and we weren't able to do that. A loss is a loss, but we need to forget about this one. That's going to be a little difficult to do." Certainly not when they think about lost opportunities. The Angels were 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position Sunday and 4 for 36 in the series. They left a runner at third base in the ninth, left the bases loaded in the 10th and had runners at first and third in the 11th without scoring. "There's some guys that have just struggled for the last couple of weeks and it's showing up with setting the table and getting opportunities with guys in scoring position," Scioscia said. "We're paying the price for it." The price has been an unsettle season that rises and falls and never seems to gain traction. The Angels had a chance to close to within six games of first-place Texas in the American League West on Saturday but lost. Now they're eight games out and have dropped three of four. "We definitely need to be a little more consistent, that's for sure," Wells said. "It's going to happen, it's just a matter of when." There are plenty of fans who are no doubt rejoicing the fact that Wells could be down for at least a couple of weeks, giving an opportunity for seldom-used Peter Bourjos to play in the outfield with Mike Trout, who homered in the fifth inning, and Mark Trumbo, who is filling in for Hunter. Wells, however, had shown signs of an improved bat and was hitting .282 over his previous 10 games. His six home runs are tied for the team lead with Trumbo. Now he's down. And for now, so are the Angels. Are they down and out? Not quite, but you've got to wonder if they're getting close.
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