by BJ Martin, Angels Nation Staff
The desert rains swept into Tempe Friday as the Angels did battle with the Diamondbacks. It only seemed to keep the starting line-up’s bats cool.
The 2,040 social distanced fans at the ballpark were treated to a pitching duel. Arizona’s Zac Gallen and Jose Quintana were both dealing in their three innings of work. The tandem getting through their outings without surrendering an extra base hit or any runs.
That left it up to the bullpens and bench to determine the outcome of this game.
The Angels would get that break when the D-Back Joakim Soria entered the game and the Halos got to him quick. First on a two-run double by David Fletcher and then a two-run home run by Scott Schebler.
The Angels would ultimately win the game 5-4 in eight innings.
The ‘Brief Breakdown’:
Jose Quintana’s outstanding spring performance continued Friday afternoon. The left-hander tossed three shutout innings while demonstrating excellent control of his pitches. The recently acquired starter has yet to surrender an earned run in his three Cactus League starts.
Junior Guerra entered the game in the fourth and load the bases with no outs. He showed great clutch pitching by getting Asdrubal Cabrera to pop out before striking out Carson Kelly and Daulton Varsho to end the threat. He would leave the game in the fifth after the first two batters reach base on Luis Rengifo error and walk to Pavin Smith.
Jaime Barria entered the game with runners on first and second in the fifth. Traditionally a starting pitcher, Joe Maddon clearly giving him a chance to show how he performs with inherited runners.
Barria answered the call striking out David Peralta on three pitches before facing Josh Rojas with one out. He would get Rojas to ground out on the next pitch, advancing the runners to 2nd and 3rd base. Barria would retire Christian Walker to end the inning on a fly ball to left field.
Barria is thought to be out of options but general manager Perry Minasian hinted that MLB is still reviewing 2020 service time. If the Panamanian righty is out of options, the Angels will likely need to find a place for him in their bullpen.
Barria would finish the day pitching two and two-thirds innings, striking out five of the twelve D-Backs he faced. Surrendering a home run to the D-Backs Eduardo Escobar in the sixth inning.
Jose Suarez would come into the seventh inning with inherited runners on base and struggled in that role. Surrendering two of Barria’s runner left on base before Suarez finally retired the third out of the inning.
Suarez would close out the game in the eighth inning and earn a save for his outing. Suarez is still only 23-years-old and expected to be part of Salt Lake’s Triple-A rotation this May.
Of the Angels starters today, only David Fletcher, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Upton would produce base hits off starter Zac Gallen. Upton’s spring batting average is .462 heading into the weekend and looking to pick up where he left off last September.
Fletcher would go 2-for-3 on the day when he delivered a two-run double down the right field line in the fifth inning. Giving the Angels their first runs of the cloudy afternoon.
Scott Schebler would follow Fletcher by clubbing a two-run opposite field home run. It was the left-handed hitter outfielders second home run of the Cactus League. He’s competing with Juan Lagares, Jon Jay, and Taylor Ward for that fourth outfielder role this year.
Look out Lagares, Jay, and Ward, there’s a Schebler in the house. https://t.co/glmsMHwwIB
— Halo Life ⚾ (@_HaloLife) March 12, 2021
Max Stassi started his first game catching behind the plate Friday. He caught Quintana and Guerra for the first four innings before being relieved by Anthony Mulrine in the fifth. Stassi is expected to share the starting catching duties with new addition Kurt Suzuki going into the season.
On Saturday: The Angels will be travelling to Camelback Ranch to play the Chicago White Sox Saturday. The game is actually scheduled for a full nine innings. Shohei Ohtani will be making his second start of the spring versus the Sox Jimmy Lambert. The 12:05 PM (PT) game will be broadcast for television on Fox Sports West and radio on KLAA.