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Again, Angel Pitchers Have the Wrong Stuff : Baseball: Magrane lets early leads get away and bullpen doesn't help out much in 9-5 loss to Mariners.

May 16, 1994|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SEATTLE — Maybe it will happen this morning, or later this afternoon, or perhaps even as late as Tuesday.

But at some point, the Angels' management will meet to discuss the future of their struggling pitching staff.

Another shoddy start--this one by Joe Magrane in a 9-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday--makes it imperative the Angels act soon.

The problems are simply too great to ignore, Manager Buck Rodgers said after Magrane lasted only 4 1/3 innings. Of particular concern are starters Magrane and Mark Leiter and reliever John Dopson. Only Chuck Finley and Mark Langston would appear to be safe from potential moves.

"You have to realize John Dopson has been released (actually, he wasn't re-signed by Boston)," Rodgers said. "Mark Leiter has been released (by Detroit). Joe Magrane has been released (by St. Louis). And we're trying to find spots for them on our club. We have to find a way to stay out of the situations we got into (Sunday). You've got to look at what we've got to start with.

"I would like, in a day or two, to make some decisions, depending on how our talks come out."

Rodgers, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, General Manager Bill Bavasi and Assistant GM Tim Mead will meet to hash out remedies for their ailing staff.

Sunday's loss provided further evidence that the club's most glaring weakness is its pitching.

Magrane was lousy and he didn't deny it after giving up five runs and eight hits, including home runs by Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Blowers. He struck out two and walked five. He also threw 125 pitches, far too many as far as he and Rodgers were concerned.

The Angels had a 3-1 lead after the second inning, but Magrane couldn't hold it. They led, 4-3, after the top of the fifth but that slipped away, too.

"I don't want to make any excuses," said Magrane, 0-2 with a 7.04 earned-run average in three starts. "I was just embarrassed today. I can't remember the last time I let two leads get away.

"I'm just really disappointed, embarrassed. I feel I let the guys down today, especially from the perspective that our bullpen has been worked hard the last few games."

And what of the bullpen?

Saturday, Joe Grahe and Bob Patterson couldn't hold a 7-4 lead to start the seventh inning, and the Mariners rallied from a seven-run deficit in their 10-7 victory.

Sunday, Dopson gave up four runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings. Seattle got a run-scoring double from Dan Wilson in the seventh, taking a 6-4 lead. Then, after retiring the first two batters in the eighth, Dopson gave up three runs.

"I don't know what that's all about," Rodgers said. "He keeps the ball down, then all of a sudden he's in trouble. You figure one good pitch and we're out of it, then three runs later we still don't have the third out.

"No, I don't know why we get the first two outs bang, bang and we can't get the third out."

Seattle's four-run eighth off Grahe on Saturday also came with two outs.

"I don't really think it's contagious," said reliever Scott Lewis, who pitched a hitless 1 2/3 innings Sunday. "If you look back from day one, all we've been doing is this: Pitch well one time, struggle one time. It's a matter of getting it rolling. We've all had our good and bad moments."

The pitching woes overshadowed another homer by Tim Salmon. The solo shot off Bobby Ayala in the ninth inning was Salmon's fifth in four games and his team-leading 10th of the season.

And, despite all their troubles on the mound, the Angels still might have been in the game if not for stranding nine runners in scoring position and having two others picked off, infuriating Rodgers.

"You have to be aggressive," he said. "But you have to get back to the base."

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