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Angels aim to amp up offense against Rangers

Sportsnaut
Apr 9, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) celebrates his solo home run hit against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels will face the Texas Rangers on Friday night in Arlington, Texas, hoping that their star hitters will begin performing as they are expected to considering their lofty credentials.

Leadoff hitter Shohei Ohtani is the reigning American League MVP, No. 2 hitter Mike Trout is a three-time MVP, and No. 3 hitter Anthony Rendon had a breakout 2019 season that helped the Washington Nationals win the World Series.

The trio combined to go 3-for-11 with a home run (Trout) and a double (Ohtani) on Thursday in a 10-5 loss to the Rangers in the first game of a four-game series. Rendon, moved to the cleanup spot for the night, had a hit and two walks.

Even so, Ohtani, Trout and Rendon are batting a combined .176 (12-for-68) with three homers and four RBIs in the club’s seven games this season.

Though it’s early, those aren’t the numbers the Angels would have hoped for from a trio making a combined $79.1 million this season (Ohtani $5.5 million, Trout $37.1 million, Rendon $36.5 million).

Angels manager Joe Maddon, though, isn’t concerned. Even Rendon, who has struggled since signing a seven-year, $245 million contract before the 2020 season, will come around, the skipper believes.

Rendon is hitting .150 (3-for-20) with one homer and a .592 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

“He looks fine to me,” Maddon said. “He looks really good. Again, I watch things like his balance and the bat speed, and he’ll start squaring them up. He’s gonna get really hot. We’ve seen it before. Mikey’s real close, too. And Ohtani, I’m not worried about at all.”

After going 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and two strikeouts on Thursday, Ohtani is hitting .172 (5-for-29), while Trout (1-for-4 with the homer on Thursday) is hitting .211 (4-for-19) with two long balls.

Left-hander Reid Detmers (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will be on the mound Friday for Los Angeles, coming off a no-decision on April 8 against the Houston Astros. Detmers gave up two runs and three hits in four innings and threw 75 pitches. He has never faced the Rangers.

Texas will counter with right-hander Matt Bush (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who will make the first start of his career. He has turned in a pair of scoreless one-inning relief appearances this season, giving him 142 career outings without ever starting.

In 14 all-time outings vs. the Angels, Bush is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings.

New Rangers shortstop Corey Seager went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in the Thursday game, and he is hitting .346 with an .893 OPS.

After signing a 10-year, $325 million free-agent contract, Seager is not only expected to put up numbers, but also be a leader, something that wasn’t expected of him in his seven years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he was surrounded by veterans.

“I think he’s ready for it,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “I get to help him and say, ‘Hey, you’re the guy. All eyes are on you.’ And he doesn’t mind that. He just does things right. He doesn’t care if the spotlight’s on him, really, because he’s like, ‘This is how I work.’

“Look, I’m not going to have him lead a team speech or anything. That’s not his style. His style is to just put his arm around guys, be a great human being to his teammates and help them. I think that’s what he’s gonna do.”

–Field Level Media