ANAHEIM — Rookie Daniel Mengden surely will carry many lessons with him into this offseason after his first exposure to the majors.
As for Tuesday’s start in particular, perhaps the A’s young right-hander is best served to forget it ever took place. He ran into a fourth-inning buzz saw at Angels Stadium, during which the home team blitzed him for seven runs as the A’s were routed 8-1, losing for the seventh time in the past eight games.
It was a tough way for Mengden’s final start of the season to unfold. It was 1-0 Los Angeles when seven consecutive Angels reached base off him to begin the fourth, a rally that included Jefry Marte’s grand slam to straightaway center. The right-hander wound up allowing career highs in runs (eight) and hits (nine) in three-plus innings, as the Angels won for the sixth time in their past seven games.
On the flip side, the A’s weren’t able to break through against right-hander Ricky Nolasco (8-14), who came in pitching well lately but was 0-3 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts against Oakland this season. Ryon Healy’s double that scored Brett Eibner in the sixth kept the A’s from being blanked.
This marks just the second time in Oakland history that the A’s have posted back-to-back 90-loss seasons. They also did so from 1977-79.
Starting pitching report
Marte did the most damage off Mengden (2-9) with his first career grand slam. But — surprise! — Mike Trout again hurt the A’s. He drove in Kole Calhoun with a single in the first and walked as part of the seven-batter avalanche that caught Mengden in the fourth. It isn’t exactly news to say the superstar makes life rough on a team, but the A’s in particular bring out his best. He is 27-for-63 (.429) with five homers, 12 RBI and 19 runs in 17 games against the A’s this season.
Mengden opened his career with an excellent four-start stretch. He found the going mostly rough moving forward from there, finishing with a 6.50 ERA in 14 starts spread over two stints with the big league club. Bullpen report
Zach Neal worked three innings in relief of Mengden and Dillon Overton threw two scoreless innings, getting a strikeout of Trout.
At the plate
The A’s aren’t capable of overcoming a large early deficit with the way they’re swinging the bats right now, though an 8-0 hole is a tall order for any team. Oakland has scored one run or fewer five times in the past seven games, and that doesn’t get it done no matter what the pitching is like. Cleanup man Khris Davis 1-for-20 over his past six games, and leadoff man Joey Wendle has cooled off considerably. He’s 6-for-38 (.158) over his last 10 games.
On the plus side, Healy went 3-for-4 with the run-scoring double. He has 18 multi-hit games over his past 39 contests and is hitting .359 over that span. The rookie third baseman is hitting .309 overall. A native of nearby West Hills, Healy had a noticeable cheering section on hand as well.
In the field
Mengden wasn’t helped out in the first, when Calhoun’s double led to the Angels’ first run. His fly ball to left-center hung in the air long enough that it should have been caught. But it fell between center fielder Brett Eibner and left fielder Valencia, though Eibner got a glove on it. Both converged on it and neither appeared to call it.
The announced turnout was 27,531.
Wednesday’s series finale holds some intrigue with Sonny Gray (5-11, 5.74) returning for his first start since Aug. 6, after being sidelined by a strained forearm. It will be brief, probably no more than 30 pitches according to A’s manager Bob Melvin. Alex Meyer (1-2, 5.91) goes for the Angels, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.