By Pete Zarustica
Sifting through the remains of yet another loss by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, an optimist could find at least one bright bit of news. Recent acquisition Nicky Nolasco pitched well in the 3-1 defeat by the Chicago Cubs Wednesday night, which was the Halos’ sixth straight setback.
He struck out six batters, walked two and gave up just six hits in six innings. It wasn’t enough to win, but it was enough to give something for Angel manager Mike Scioscia to sound upbeat about.
“That’s the way he can pitch,” Scioscia said. “I think we’re excited to see that. He had command of his sinker. He really spun the ball well with a couple different breaking balls, and that’s when he’s at his best. That was a very encouraging start.”
But, of course, the pitching star of the night was the Cubs’ Jason Hammel (12-5), who worked seven shutout innings, striking out six batters and walking two.
The lone Angel run came in the top of the eighth when Albert Pujols plated Yunel Escobar from third on a ground out. Escobar had three of the Halos’ six hits and scored once.
After having been swept by the Cubs in the Windy City, the Angels have to next take on another division leader, the Cleveland Indians, who are in first in the American League Central. That series starts Thursday in Ohio.
The loss dropped the Angels to 49-64. They remain in fifth and last place in the American League West.