Loe's location: The showers
Pitcher can't find plate as his four-game streak ends abruptly
ANAHEIM -- Seven days of rest did not do much for Kameron Loe's control.The Rangers even gave him a three-run lead before he even threw a pitch and that didn't help, either. The Rangers can only hope this was a temporary condition brought about by sitting around during the four-day All-Star break and can be easily fixed. Hey, at least he didn't overthrow first base on a pickoff and have the ball fly into the stands like reliever Frank Francisco in the eighth inning. That had to have been the sight of the night. Loe's problem was he couldn't pound the strike zone the way he had just before the All-Star break and instead had his four-game winning streak snapped in a 9-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on Saturday night. "I just didn't have it tonight," Loe said. "It's disappointing." The Rangers have now lost the first two games of their three-game series with the Angels. They were 6-0-1 in their last seven series going into the All-Star break. "I was hoping we would continue from where we left off," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "I thought this was a W, especially the way Kam was pitching. But that other team just keeps coming after you from all angles." Loe, who didn't throw a strike until his ninth pitch, walked a season-high five batters, the most he has walked in a game since Sept. 27, 2005. His personal high is six in his first career start against the Angels on Sept. 29, 2004, but in that game he lasted four innings. This time he was out after 2 2/3 innings, having allowed five runs on five hits and five walks and he is now 5-7 with a 5.49 ERA on the season. "I just struggled with my command," Loe said. "I just wasn't locating it very well. I wasn't on top of my pitches. I felt a little rusty. It came down to fastball command." Loe isn't the only well-rested starter in the rotation. Brandon McCarthy pitches on Sunday with seven days' rest, then come Jamey Wright and Robinson Tejeda in the first two games of the Oakland series. Both will have 11 days of rest since their last start. But manager Ron Washington said that's not going to be an excuse. "This is Major League Baseball," Washington said. "Everybody has the same time off. We're not blaming that. He just didn't have any command." Even after waiting seven days, Loe still had to wait a little longer. The Rangers worked three runs off Angels starter John Lackey in the first inning but needed 20 minutes to do it. The long wait didn't help, even after Washington convinced home-plate umpire Rick Reed to give Loe more time to warm up. "I took a couple extra pitches but probably could have used a few more," Loe said. "My arm was dragging." Reggie Willits and Chone Figgins both walked on four straight pitches. "After the sixth straight ball, we yelled from the dugout at [catcher] Gerald Laird just to set up in the middle of the plate," Washington said. "He just wasn't putting the ball on the plate. He was trying to go to the corners." A couple of ground balls brought home a run, but Loe still escaped that inning with a 3-1 lead. But he never found the same groove that he had just before the All-Star break. A leadoff double by Garret Anderson in the second and a two-out single by Willits made it 3-2. Sammy Sosa's triple and an RBI grounder by Frank Catalanotto gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead in the top of the third. But the Angels parlayed three singles, two walks and an error by Rangers third baseman Ramon Vazquez into a three-run rally in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-4 lead. "That's the earliest big lead I've had in a little while," Loe said. "To not take advantage of it is disappointing on my part. It's just one of those outings. It's disappointing but I've got a bullpen [session] in a couple of days. I'm looking forward to getting things straightened out in my next outing."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.