PIRATES (48-69) AT ANGELS (58-61)
10:07 p.m. ET; FS-W, MLBN, ATTSN-PT, MLB.TV
The Los Angeles Angels are showing signs of emerging from their slump while the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t displaying any evidence of ending their own.
The Pirates have dropped eight straight games and are just 4-24 since the All-Star break as they enter a three-game series against the Angels on Monday night in Anaheim, Calif.
Pittsburgh’s current skid is only its second-worst since the All-Star break. The club dropped nine in a row from July 21-29.
The Pirates lost 11-9 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday when they let an 8-4 lead after 6 1/2 innings slip away.
“At the end of the day, the game’s designed to break your heart,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle told reporters afterward. “And the game beats you up every once in a while.”
Pirates All-Star first baseman Josh Bell ended a 26-game homerless drought by going deep twice and driving in four runs. Bell has 29 homers and 93 RBIs — the latter total ranks third in the National League.
Los Angeles won back-to-back games against the Boston Red Sox after losing its previous eight contests. Kole Calhoun smashed a tying homer in the eighth inning and Anthony Bemboom delivered the decisive single in the 10th as the Angels prevailed 5-4 on Sunday.
“I think all of us in here thought collectively if we can get in the win column, some things might start going our way,” Calhoun told reporters afterward. “Today we went in there and battled. All facets of the game. Got out to an early lead, they tied it up, we came from behind. Just a really good team win.”
The victory was just the fourth in 16 games for Los Angeles, which completed a 2-7 road trip.
American League homer and RBI leader Mike Trout (with 39 and 92, respectively) had a nine-game hitting streak halted on Sunday. But he has gone deep five times in the past 10 contests.
Pittsburgh is visiting Anaheim for the first time since 2013 when it swept a three-game set.
Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller (0-1, 10.50 ERA) will be recalled Monday from Triple-A Indianapolis and will make his fourth big league start.
The 23-year-old Keller was roughed up for six runs in each of his first two starts — May 27 against the Cincinnati Reds and June 12 versus the Atlanta Braves. He also gave up four runs (two earned) and four hits in a season-long five innings against the Detroit Tigers on June 18.
Keller is hoping to prove he is ready for this latest chance to face big-league hitters.
“Obviously, getting back up to where you want to be is a good thing,” Keller told reporters. “It feels really good to come back and get another opportunity.”
Keller will face Mike Trout for the first time and reminisced about watching the Angels’ star play at Class-A Cedar Rapids in 2010. Keller grew up in Cedar Rapids and was 14 at the time and acknowledged he can’t be star-struck while facing Trout or Albert Pujols.
“If you start looking at them like that, then you’re already a step behind,” Keller said. “I feel like I can go up against anybody with the stuff that I have, so I don’t really think about that. It’ll be kind of cool to face Trout, though.”
Angels left-hander Jose Suarez (2-3, 6.22) will be on the mound after losing back-to-back outings.
The 21-year-old gave up 10 runs and 14 hits — including four homers — in just 9 1/3 innings in a pair of losses to the Detroit Tigers (July 31) and Cincinnati Reds (Tuesday).
The rookie gave up three homers for the second time in 10 big league outings in the 8-4 loss to the Reds. He has served up 14 home runs in just 46 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media