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Angels keep faith in OF Jo Adell in tilt vs. White Sox

Sportsnaut
Apr 24, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Jo Adell (7) celebrates with right fielder Taylor Ward (3) after hitting a grand slam home run in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jo Adell is expected to get the start in left field Sunday afternoon when the visiting Los Angeles Angels play the third game of their four-game set against the Chicago White Sox.

With Mike Trout in center field and Taylor Ward winning the every-day spot in right field with his sizzling bat, Adell and Brandon Marsh find themselves in a platoon situation in left field, with the right-handed hitting Adell getting starts against lefties.

The White Sox will throw left-hander Dallas Keuchel (1-2, 9.00 ERA) against Angels right-hander Michael Lorenzen (2-1, 2.93) on Sunday.

Adell, though, actually has had more success against right-handers, both in his career and this season. He’s hitting .290 against right-handers this season, and just .158 vs. lefties. For his career, he’s hitting .217 vs. righties, .202 vs. lefties.

Adell also is still trying to figure out how to lower his strikeout rate. In his rookie year in 2020, he struck out in 42 percent of his plate appearances, but he got that number down to 23 percent last season. He is at 36 percent in 2022.

The Angels, though, still believe in his potential, and with Adell (23 years old) and Marsh (24) still getting their major league feet wet, splitting the left field duties might take off some of the pressure.

“They’re very talented, there’s no question,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “You put your scout’s cap on, and my goodness, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Body, speed, strength, running ability, everything. They’re gonna get settled in. But they’re going to be really good major leaguers for a long time.”

In fact, together, their combined numbers aren’t too far off those of Trout (five homers, 10 RBIs) and Ward (five homers, 13 RBIs). Adell and Marsh have combined for five homers and 23 RBIs.

“They’re giving you flashes right now,” Maddon said. “We need to get their feet on the ground to the point where they can compete in really tight games and meaningful times of the year. … That has to be nurtured. I don’t expect it overnight. You don’t turn battleships on a dime.”

Lorenzen has no decisions with a 3.86 ERA in five career games (two starts) vs. the White Sox. Keuchel has had success against the Angels, going 12-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 20 career games (19 starts). But he has not beaten Los Angeles since 2018.

Despite Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Angels, the White Sox have lost 10 of their last 12 games, a lack of offense being a big part of it. During those 12 games, they’ve averaged just 2.4 runs per game.

“Guys are grinding. But whatever the reason, the quality of at-bats can get better, and they’re working on it,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.

“It’s starting to show results. I’ve learned a long time ago, if you try to explain yourself, it sounds like an excuse. The less you explain, the less excuses people think you’re making. But our offense is going to be fine. We’re going in the right direction,” La Russa said.

–Field Level Media