Griffin Canning’s final start a quality one, but Angels lose

Griffin Canning delivered a final quality start in his last appearance of the season in the Angels’ 5-0 loss to the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium on Wednesday. Amid another bad season in Angels history, Canning’s strong finish was a source of pride for the right-hander, who missed all of last season recovering from an injury.

“I need to reflect and take some time,” Canning said after the game. “But I’m really proud of myself for, [after] not pitching for a year and a half and to come back and throw 127 innings, I think that’s something I can be really proud of for myself.

“Really thankful for the people I had behind me this whole time and helped me get back to this point.”

Canning finished with a 4.32 earned-run average and 7-7 record in 24 starts. In evaluating Canning’s season, manager Phil Nevin said he was pleased with the pitcher for how deep he was able to pitch into games and feels Canning is a fixture in the rotation.

“The record, he had a lot of [no] decisions, I know we don’t talk a lot about that, but that means he’s pitching deep into games,” Nevin said. “I’m really proud.”

Canning pitched six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out five. He needed to retire one more batter to get out of the sixth inning, having thrown 109 pitches, walking a batter with his last one.

Nevin went out to Canning, seemingly to pull him. The PA system even started playing the entrance song for reliever Andrew Wantz, who started making his way down the stairs from the bullpen toward the field.

“I hit the top step and I saw where his pitches were and thought that was enough,” Nevin said. “He saw me get up and I saw his face. I got out there and I knew he wanted it.

“I said, ‘All right, you got one more hitter, you’ve had a heck of a year, finish it strong,’” Nevin recalled.

When Nevin left back to the dugout, Canning remained. Wantz did not realize Canning was staying in and started his trot to the mound, turning around when rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe waved him to go back.

Canning was determined to get all he could out of his last start, needing just two pitches to help retire his final batter, Mitch Garver, who grounded out to end the inning.

“I’m glad he let me stay in for that last hitter,” Canning said.