The Los Angeles Angels will host the New York Mets on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., with a lineup made by interim manager Phil Nevin that might not be much different than what the recently fired Joe Maddon would have used.
Over time, though, the differences may become more apparent, and in particular one area would be at shortstop.
Andrew Velazquez began the season in the minors but was called up on April 12 after starting shortstop David Fletcher went to the injured list with an ailing hip.
Velazquez has been the Angels’ primary shortstop since then, but Nevin plans to rely on him a little less going forward. Velazquez, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Mets, has played 52 games this season.
Prior to 2022, Velazquez had never played in more than 40 games in a season in his career and never started more than 22.
The Angels are Velazquez’s fifth team in five major league seasons. That includes last season with the Yankees, with Nevin serving as the third-base coach.
“He plays a heckuva shortstop,” Nevin said. “Where I see him, and having had him over the last couple years, is he’s not used to playing every day, you know, and it’s different.
“Even in the minor leagues, you get your rest more often than not, and he’s gonna need his days (off). That’s just the way the human body works. So he’s going to get them every once, probably a day or two more than you’ve seen.”
While Velazquez’s defense is certainly a plus, his offense is an issue. He’s hitting .175 this season and has a career average of .180. However, Velazquez has had his moments — his three-run homer on Thursday was the difference as the Angels ended a 14-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon returned to the lineup Friday after being out with a sore wrist. Center fielder Mike Trout (groin) did not play Friday but is still day-to-day.
Michael Lorenzen (5-3, 3.69 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season for the Angels on Saturday. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.15 ERA in 11 career games (one start) versus the Mets.
Carlos Carrasco (7-1, 3.52) was originally scheduled to start Friday’s game but was pushed back to Saturday. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 11 career games (five starts) against the Angels.
On a team Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, it’s easy to forget about someone like Carrasco. The veteran Carrasco is in his 13th major league season and has more career wins (96) than deGrom (77).
“Very quietly, he’s just reminded everybody that he was one of the best pitchers in the American League for a number of years,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s just another example of when guys are healthy, how different everything is. He’s been in a good place for a long time.”
–Field Level Media