CLEVELAND -- Hard-throwing right-hander Jordan Walden, who has gone from a closer to basically a mop-up guy in the Angels' bullpen this season, struggled while pitching the ninth inning of Sunday's eventual 10-6 win over the Blue Jays.
Walden checked in with a seven-run lead and seemed to have trouble commanding his fastball. He walked leadoff hitter Rajai Davis on four straight pitches, walked the weak-hitting Omar Vizquel on five pitches two batters later, and gave up a three-run homer on a 96-mph inside fastball to the next hitter, Colby Rasmus.
Walden, who has a 3.96 ERA to go along with a 1.52 WHIP and a 1.76 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 25 innings, also gave up the winning run in Friday's seventh inning. Since last year, his fastball velocity has decreased (from 97.5 mph to 96.6 mph) and so has his strike percentage (62 to 59), but only slightly.
"His stuff's there," manager Mike Scioscia said, "and the big picture, if you look at his last 10 outings, his stuff has been really good. He's throwing some better breaking balls. The breaking ball he threw to Jose Bautista [to strike him out Sunday] was terrific at the end. Commanding the ball was something he had some trouble with yesterday, but overall, I think he's made a lot of strides, and yesterday was just a little setback."