Los Angeles Angels
After being humiliated by the Angels last weekend in Seattle, the Mariners might not be relishing a rematch down south with the Halos of Orange County. Or, maybe revenge is on their minds. Either way, the club is gearing up for a three-game set at Angel Stadium and the last thing they want is a repeat of last week's 1-4 performance against a club that was in a seeming death spiral. Riding a 3-17 swoon when they came in to Seattle, the Halos got themselves right for a brief time before losing another series, dropping two of three to the Royals. The salvaged the finale of that series with a brilliant Shohei Ohtani pitching performance in a 5-0 win; among other things, that means Ohtani will not be among the starting pitchers for this series, so there's one bit of good news for the M's.
Since firing manager Joe Maddon, the Angels are 7-9 under new skipper Phil Nevin. Now, four of those wins were in that Seattle series, and therefore might be looked at skeptically. But the first of the four wins was behind Ohtani's pitching, it was legit. The second not so much—Mariner failures to move runners and more ill-timed strikeouts squandered scoring opportunities, and had manager Scott Servais not pitched to Mike Trout, it's possible the Angels wouldn't have scored any runs at all. The third was a solid win, a combined shutout, but again the M's blew some opportunities by failing to move runners along and striking out. The fourth was a sad, sad Mariner performance against the likes of pitchers Kenny Rosenberg (since demoted to Triple-A) and Andrew Wantz while again Mike Trout provided the Angels' offense. Wins are wins, they all count, but it helps when the opposition doesn't really try that hard.
Now, the Mariners are coming off a sweep of the Oakland A's and are perhaps in a better headspace now than they were a week ago. So perhaps this won't be another humbling disaster facing a club in the throes of chaos.
2022 Record: 34-38, 3rd in AL West.
Last Series: Lost two of three to Kansas City.
Most interesting player: Two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is not only the most interesting player on this team, but maybe the most interesting in the game. The defending AL MVP hasn't put up the same numbers that he did last year, but he's nevertheless among the top three current Angels hitters and the team leader in RBI. Oh, and he pitches, too, with seven quality starts (12 games) and the win that broke the Angels' 14-game losing streak after Maddon was fired.
Key injuries: 3B Anthony Rendon is out for the season after undergoing wrist surgery. IF David Fletcher is recovering from hip surgery and will be out for at least another couple of weeks.
Pitching matchups: Friday: Chris Flexen vs. Michael Lorenzen—Flex has, like most Seattle starters but to a more extreme degree, suffered from poor run support and has pitched better than his 2-8 record would suggest; since his last win (May 27th), he's thrown 22 innings (four starts) and allowed nine earned runs (3.68 ERA). Lorenzen drew the only loss in the Angels' series in Seattle last week, serving up seven runs in five innings; he's had a couple other poor starts this year, but has also has several strong ones, including wins against first-place teams like the Mets and Guardians. Saturday: Logan Gilbert vs. Patrick Sandoval—Gilbert has continued to be Seattle's most consistent starter and is riding a string of seven consecutive quality starts. Left-hander Sandoval beat the M's last Saturday and has had a fine season thus far. Sunday: Marco Gonzales vs. TBA. Marco finally got some run support his last time out in an 8-2 win over Oakland. The Angles don't have a starter scheduled yet, as their rotation is thin after demoting Reid Detmers (who pitched a no-hitter against the Rays earlier in the year) in a possible service-time manipulation scheme; they've been doing a sort of call-up yo-yo routine to fill out the rotation for a while now, with no apparent plan for a steady addition.
|vs. AL West||16-12|
Who’s Hot & Not
Last ten games
.342/.400/.684, 3 HR, 11 RBI
.294/.333/.559, 4 XBH, 4 RBI
.182/.217/.227, 10 Ks
.189/.231/.216, 10 Ks
.171/.216/.286, 5 Ks
.182/.250/.212, 12 Ks
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|6/19/22||LAA 4, SEA 0|
|6/18/22||LAA 3, SEA 0|
|6/18/22||LAA 4, SEA 2|
|6/17/22||SEA 8, LAA 1|
|6/16/22||LAA 4, SEA 1|
|10/3/21||LAA 7, SEA 3|
|10/2/21||SEA 6, LAA 4|
|10/1/21||LAA 2, SEA 1|
|9/26/21||SEA 5, LAA 1|
|9/25/21||LAA 14, SEA 1|
|9/24/21||SEA6, LAA 5|
Phil Nevin: Taking over for Joe Maddon is the former All-Star third baseman Nevin, who retired as a player in 2007. He since went on to manage in the independent Golden Baseball League and then both the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates of the Detroit Tigers before getting back to the big leagues as a Detroit coach. He went back to managing in Triple-A in 2014, this time in the Diamondbacks' organization, then after three years there was named to the San Francisco Giants' coaching staff for a year, then coached with the Yankees before coming to the Angels this year to be their third-base coach. He finds himself unexpectedly at the helm now, holding the manager's job on an interim basis after Maddon was canned on June 7th after the Halos lost 12 straight. “Obviously, this is not all Joe’s fault,” said Shohei Ohtani, through his interpreter. “Players are to blame, because [we were] underperforming.” Still, some players welcomed the change. "Regardless of how it came to him," said reliever Archie Bradley, "I’m excited for Phil. I think our team’s excited for him, and I think he’ll be the guy to lead us and get this thing turned around.”
Jeremy Reed: No players in the Angels' mix have ever played for Seattle, but Reed, the Angels' hitting coach, made his big-league debut with the Mariners in 2004, getting a September promotion that saw him hit the cover off the ball. His .397/.470/.466 line from those 18 games turned out to be a mirage, though, and he retired as a player at age 30 with a career .252/.309/.354 line. His other notable Mariners contribution was being part of a huge three-team trade with Cleveland and the Mets that brought Franklin Guttiérez to Seattle prior to the 2009 season. He's been working for the Angels since 2017, as their minor-league hitting coordinator before getting named to the Major League coaching staff in 2019.
|Los Angeles Angels||(2016 - present)|
|Division Titles:||1979, 1982, 1986, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014|
Mike Trout: As a child, Trout and his brother Tyler went to the Cumberland County Fair and played the game where one throws a baseball at a pyramid of milk bottles to win a prize. Trout was so good at it that he was banned from the game. Tyler described young Mike as "furious" at not being allowed to knock down any more bottles.
Kurt Suzuki doesn't pay much attention to politics. A member of the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals, Suzuki went to the White House with other members of the team (not all—some boycotted) and reveled in the experience, even allowing himself to be used as a prop by the then-president. The former president had Suzuki put on a MAGA cap and then hugged Suzuki weirdly from behind. By his own account, the Japanese-American catcher was just enjoying the moment and the grandeur of being at the White House, but fans in his home state of Hawaii and people throughout the Asian-American community were appalled at his tone-deafness in allowing himself to be used in photographs as the former president's "Asian friend."
Raisel Iglesias: It took two attempts, but the Angels' closer succeeded in fleeing his native Cuba in November 2013. He'd played in the World Baseball Classic for the Cuban national team that year and knew he had a good chance of playing pro ball in the U.S. if he could just get here. From Cuba he established residency in Haiti and held an open tryout in Mexico that landed him a contract with the Cincinnati Reds (he was traded to the Angels last December). Now Iglesias lives in Miami and hopes to be able to get his family out of Cuba to join him. "I have half my family here with me," he said. "I have my mom. I hope soon I can have my brothers here." His father is unlikely to get to leave Cuba, but was fully supportive of Raisel's defection. "He's proud of the step I took coming here to America," Raisel said. "He's always backed me. Everyone in my family backed me up."