Tyler Wade likely will be in the starting lineup at second base for the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night when they host the Washington Nationals in the second game of a three-game series in Anaheim, Calif.
While the Angels’ big-name players like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani get most of the headlines, Wade has been just what manager Joe Maddon was looking for when it comes to the complementary players in the lineup.
Wade does not hit home runs — he has six career homers in 553 career plate appearances — but he does bring qualities that help make the offense go.
Wade is a contact hitter with speed — he had a .354 on-base percentage with 17 stolen bases last season with the New York Yankees.
“I think this fits me to a T,” Wade said of his role with the club. “Small ball, that’s my game. You’re not gonna pay me to hit 30 home runs. You’re gonna pay me to be on base in front of the big boys and steal a base and create runs.
“I’ll go first to third, steal second, wreak havoc … that’s my job, to get on base and have (pitchers’) attention more on me. That might force them to make a mistake.”
Wade played a career-high 103 games last season, his fifth in New York, but started only 35 games. Already this season, he has started 18 games at either second base or shortstop, including Friday’s 3-0 win over the Nationals.
He went 1 for 2 with a walk Friday in a 3-0 Los Angeles win and is hitting .278 with a .339 on-base percentage and three stolen bases this season, typically batting in the lower third of the order.
“I’ve worked (hard) for the last five years to stay ready for an opportunity that I wasn’t able to get in New York,” said Wade, a Southern California native. “So being home and having an opportunity here, man, I couldn’t be more excited.”
Michael Lorenzen (3-1, 3.04 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season for the Angels, coming off a victory in his last start in which he went 8 1/3 innings, the longest outing of his career.
He is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 12 career games (one start) against the Nationals.
Right-hander Josiah Gray (3-2, 3.12 ERA) will make his sixth start of the season for Washington. He’s coming off his best start of the season, when he shut out the San Francisco Giants for six innings, allowing just one hit.
Gray was the top prospect the Nationals received in the trade deadline deal last season that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He got a chance with the Nationals last season, going 2-2 with a 5.31 ERA in 12 starts. And he’s already surpassed his win total from last year.
“He showed a lot last year of his tenacity and the way he works and his routine,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He wants to throw more changeups. He wants to be able to throw his curveball for strikes instead of spiking up early in counts. The way he puts it, he wants to fine tune everything, then get everything polished and then attack hitters.”
–Field Level Media