Angels 17, Indians 8 (9 innings) — Cactus League 3/16/21

by BJ Martin, Angels Nation Staff 

The Indians arrived at Tempe Diablo Stadium Tuesday afternoon with reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber toeing the rubber.  

You’d expect a pitching duel, right? 

Not when the Tribe are experimenting with newly acquired shortstop Amed Rosario in center field. 

Cleveland is trying to find a spot for him in the line-up and he’s learning a new position the hard way. Manning the center field position for the first time at the major league level can be challenging. Especially for a 26-year-old infielder that has played all 500-plus professional games in the infield. 

Bieber was victim to nine Angels runs in his three innings of work. Only one of those nine runs was earned as a result of not one, but three Rosario errors in center. 

The Laguna Hills High School pitcher’s afternoon capped off by another Shohei Ohtani home run over the center field batter’s eye. A 468-foot home run for the Angels’ designated hitter. His fourth in seven Spring Training games he’s been in the line-up for the Halos. 

The Indians squad sent to Tempe reminded many of the 2,031 in attendance of another Bad News Bears remake. In the end, the Angels would win the contest 17-8.  

The ‘Brief Breakdown’: 

Pitching:  

Griffin Canning struggled with control in the early innings but improved as the game progressed. In the end the Angels starter struck out 5 Indians in 4 innings of work. Surrendering two runs on five hits and a walk to Joe Maddon’s 2016 World Series opponents. 

Non-roster invite Jesse Chavez had a major setback in his fight to earn a place on the Angels staff. Failing to record an out against the six batters he faced in the fifth inning. All six batters scored in the inning highlighted by Indians’ third baseman Yu Chang’s fourth home run of the spring. A three-run homer that chased the 37-year-old Chavez from the game. 

Alex Claudio appeared in his second game of the spring for his new club. Pitching a scoreless sixth inning that included striking out Ben Gamel swinging. Claudio looks to be locked in as the Angels left-handed specialist this coming season. 

Chris Rodriguez pitched another scoreless inning in the seventh. Allowing two singles in the frame before ending it with Indians’ catcher Austin Hedges looking at a called third strike. The 22-year-old prospect has been impressive with seven strikeouts in four and a third innings pitched in Arizona. 

Batters:  

In addition to Shohei Ohtani’s continued fireworks at the plate, the Angels had several other veterans contributing at the plate. 

Albert Pujols continues to rake in Cactus League action. Going 2-for-2 with a double and two runs batted in. Entering the final season of his 10-year contract, he’s hitting a robust .435 for the spring. 

David Fletcher, Anthony Rendon, Mike Trout, and Kurt Suzuki all added to the seven hits the Angels knocked off Shane Bieber and the Indians relievers. 

Juan Lagares entered the game for Trout in the fourth and continued his hot hitting. Stroking a double off Bryan Shaw in the sixth and two-run single off Blake Parker in the seventh. Bumping his Spring Training batting average to a robust .455 Tuesday. The former Mets outfielder appears to have the edge in the battle for the Angels fourth outfielder role midway through camp. 

Scott Schebler has something to say about that fourth outfield spot. The left-handed hitting slugger showed his pop hit an opposite field two-run double in the seventh. He’s hitting .333 for the spring with four extra base hits for the Halos.  

Jose Rojas continues to make an impression in the infield. Making solid plays at third base and reaching base both times at the plate. Walking in his first appearance before driving in a run with a line drive single in the seventh. The Anaheim native is hitting .333 for the spring and hoping to be a dark horse for final roster spot. 

Talking points:  

The Angels added Junior Guerra to their 40-man roster. He was originally signed to minor league contract and non-roster invite. This puts him on roster and position to make Opening Day bullpen. In a corresponding move, the club officially optioned Brandon Marsh today. Expect him to play at AAA Salt Lake. 

Felix Pena was removed from Monday’s game with hamstring injury. The team announced that he would undergo an MRI today for the injury. 

On Wednesday: The Angels will travel to Peoria for a prime-time face-off with division rival Seattle Mariners. The Mariners will send former-KBO pitcher Chris Flexen versus the Halos lefty Jose Quintana. The 6:40 PM (PT) game will be broadcast for television on Fox Sports West and MLB Network and on the radio on KLAA. 

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