Annually one of the best bullpens in the majors during Mike Scioscia's 10 seasons as manager, the Angels' relief corps has been their biggest single problem this season.
For most of the season's first two months, Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher maintained that the team had "the arms we need to get it done," and it was just a matter of getting everyone settled into their roles and pitching well.
It doesn't look as if that's going to happen anytime soon.
Jose Arredondo was demoted to Class AAA Salt Lake on Tuesday -- as much as a sign to the rest of the bullpen crew as anything. Scot Shields remains on the DL with patellar tendinitis in his left knee and "isn't making much progress" in his recovery, Scioscia admitted Wednesday.
That leaves the Angels without the two pitchers they counted on as their primary setup men in front of closer Brian Fuentes this season.
So Scioscia was asked before Wednesday's game to name his "eighth-inning guy."
"We're searching," Scioscia admitted.
RAYS 9, ANGELS 5: RHP John Lackey had one of the worst starts of his career, and the Angels never recovered from the Rays' five-run second inning. Lackey left after five innings, having allowed nine runs on 11 hits, including two home runs. The Angels scored all their runs against Rays starter Jeff Niemann, who lasted only 3 2/3 innings. They had just three hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings against four Rays relievers.
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