ANAHEIM, Calif.--A "bullpen game" is a lot easier to absorb in September, when expanded rosters give managers a dozen or more relievers to work with, but that doesn't necessarily make them more palatable.
The Angels, whose rotation has been ravaged by injuries, opened Tuesday night's game with reliever Jim Johnson, who was making his first start since his major-league debut in 2006 -- that was 666 appearances ago--and backed the right-hander with seven relievers.
"They're not by design," Scioscia said before the game. "We wish we had Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Nick Tropeano and JC Ramirez. You go down the list. These are the guys you wish you had at this point of the season, not a bullpen day."
After the tag-team relief effort of Johnson, Noe Ramirez, Hansel Robles, Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson, Jose Alvarez, Blake Parker and Ty Buttrey came within five outs of a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in Angel Stadium, Scioscia started to come around to the idea of a "bullpen game." Well, kind of.
"We used a lot of guys tonight, and we got it done," Scioscia said. "It can be effective, but as a rule, our team is not set up to do that three days a week."
The Angels allowed only two hits and almost made history, falling just short of the franchise's second combined no-hitter and the 11th overall no-hitter.
Johnson opened the game with 1 1/3 hitless innings. Ramirez struck out three in 1 2/3 hitless innings. Robles, Bedrosian, Anderson and Alvarez each threw perfect innings, sparking some much-needed September drama to a season in which the Angels were essentially eliminated from playoff contention in mid-August.
Parker retired Willie Calhoun on routine fly ball to center to open the eighth, but Rangers catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined a 91-mph fastball into right field for a clean single.
"I was bummed, big-time," Parker said. "I was following the game. As much as it's something you don't want to be focused on, it's always in the back of your head."
Parker got Drew Robinson to fly to left for the second out, but Rougned Odor singled to advance Kiner-Falefa to third. Scioscia replaced Parker with Buttrey, the hard-throwing right-hander who was acquired from Boston in the July 30 trade for Ian Kinsler.