With Mike Trout out, Angels can’t keep up with Mariners in loss

An Angels lineup that is usually announced at least three hours before game time was not posted until an hour and half before first pitch Thursday night. The reason for the delay quickly became apparent.

Noticeably absent from center field and the second spot in the order was Mike Trout, the three-time American League most valuable player who was placed on paternity leave before a 8-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners in Angel Stadium.

Trout’s wife, Jessica, had a due date of Monday to deliver the couple’s first child, a boy. As of 9 p.m. on Thursday, the Angels hadn’t announced whether she had gone into labor.

Players are eligible to miss up to three games on the paternity list, but how long Trout, who turns 29 on Aug. 7, will be absent is unknown. He will have to test negative for the coronavirus before returning.

The Angels missed Trout’s bat Thursday night. They managed only three hits in 6 1/3 innings off soft-tossing left-hander Marco Gonzales, scoring two unearned runs on Max Stassi’s two-run homer in the fifth.

Seattle pushed a 3-2 lead to 6-2 with three ninth-inning runs off Angels closer Hansel Robles, who gave up a leadoff homer to Shed Long Jr., two walks and a two-run single to J.P. Crawford. Shohei Ohtani added a three-run home run in the ninth to prevent the score from being lopsided.

The Mariners series complete, the Angels will welcome the Astros to Anaheim Friday night for the first time since Houston’s illegal sign-stealing scandal from 2017 erupted last winter.

It might not be with open arms.

The Angels did not lose to the Astros in the 2017 World Series like the Dodgers did, so they don’t feel robbed of a championship. But they played the Astros 19 times that season, going 7-12 against them despite scoring only one less run (73) than Houston (74) in those games.

“That’s the crazy thing,” Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who is on the 10-day injured list because of a left-ankle sprain, said earlier this spring. “Over the last few years we’ve had some games against them where we’ve battled, we’ve scored a few runs and you feel pretty confident, and then you go back and play defense and …”

Simmons chuckled before finishing his sentence.

“They’re right back in it.”

Simmons said earlier this month that his resentment toward the Astros faded during the 3 ½-month, pandemic-induced shutdown, but there were clearly hard feelings in March.

“They did something very big and it affected a lot more lives and results than you can imagine,” Simmons said. “You don’t know what the standings in the division would have been, who would have been the wild card, maybe some guys would have made more money, maybe some guys would have made less money.”

With the coronavirus forcing teams to play in empty stadiums, the Astros have been spared from the verbal abuse — and trash-can banging — they would have taken from fans, but the Dodgers didn’t let them off the hook this week.

Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly fired a pitch near the head of Astros third baseman Alex Bregman Tuesday night, sparking a benches-clearing incident and an eight-game suspension for the right-hander.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said he can understand his pitchers may want to retaliate against the Astros, but he encouraged them to exercise restraint.

“We’ve talked about playing baseball, straight up, that’s what I’m anticipating and that’s all I’m looking for,” Maddon said. “What happened yesterday, if you were, impacted by it, I could get it a little bit.

“But then you saw the commissioner’s response, regarding what happened. So you’ve got to choose the method you want to incorporate, and I would prefer that we just go play baseball.”

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