BALTIMORE — Every outing has been a learning experience for rookie right-hander Chase Silseth.
Silseth’s lesson in a 4-1 loss to the Orioles on Thursday was that there’s a difference between throwing strikes and quality strikes. Of his 75 pitches, 49 went for strikes, but he gave up too much hard contact and allowed four runs on six hits over four-plus innings.
Silseth, who was the first player from the 2021 Draft to reach the Majors, was impressive in his Major League debut on May 13 — allowing one hit over six scoreless innings against the A’s — but hasn’t been able to pitch deep into games since then. He hasn’t thrown more than 4 1/3 innings in any of his last five starts and has a 7.71 ERA over that span.
“The stuff is there, I’ve proven it, but it’s just a matter of how to manage a ballgame,” Silseth said. “I sound like a broken record, but I have to keep the foot on the pedal and keep going.”
Silseth, 22, fell to 1-3 with a 5.84 ERA in six starts this season. He could be sent back down to Double-A Rocket City, as the Angels need to make a roster move on Friday with lefty Reid Detmers getting called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace Michael Lorenzen, who was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder strain before Thursday’s game. The Halos could also skip Silseth’s next turn before the All-Star break, as they have an off-day on Monday.
Either way, Silseth knows he has things to work on and he said the changes he needs to make are more mental than physical at this point.
“I got to 0-2 a lot and then ended up going 2-2, 3-2, so it’s about execution where sometimes I try to make my stuff better than I need to,” Silseth said. “It’s a mentality. You have to have a short memory in this game and maybe I’m not having a great short memory. Just got to keep trying to get better, because I want to be good and help the team win. I have to keep grinding until I do.”
He pitched around a two-out double from Anthony Santander in the first but served up a solo homer to fellow rookie Adley Rutschman in the second. It came on an 0-1 fastball that caught too much of the plate.
“I wanted that outside and missed it by a foot,” Silseth said. “When you miss your spot in this league, you’re going to get punished for it and that’s what happened. No excuses for that.”
He gave up another run in the third, when he allowed a two-out RBI double to Ryan Mountcastle on a 3-0 fastball down the middle, but escaped further trouble by getting Austin Hays to ground out to end the inning. But after allowing back-to-back singles to open the fifth, including a bloop single to Cedric Mullins, Silseth was lifted for Andrew Wantz. The right-handed reliever allowed both inherited runners to score, with the runs being charged to Silseth.
“I thought Silseth did a nice job,” said acting manager Ray Montgomery. “He took us to where he took us. He’s just learning how to throttle it better and pitch deeper.”
Silseth, though, didn’t get much help from the scuffling Angels offense. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani both hit deep drives to left field in the fifth inning that would’ve been homers under Camden Yards’ former outfield dimensions, but both were caught for outs.
The Angels didn’t score until the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Kurt Suzuki to score Michael Stefanic, who doubled to open the inning for his first career extra-base hit. Trout hit a second ball to the warning track in the eighth, with Mullins robbing him of a hit with a leaping catch. Trout, though, saw his two outs as a positive sign he’s been coming out of his slump despite going 0-for-4.
“It’s something to build off of,” Trout said. “I put some good swings on balls. Obviously, I didn’t have results, but I felt really good up there.”