by BJ Martin, Angels Nation Staff
Angels pitching has been the topic of conversation all winter. Wednesday afternoon in Tempe, the Angels projected pitchers all looked promising in their Cactus League debuts.
So did this Friday’s Angels starting pitcher…at the plate.
Shohei Ohtani, you remember him, right?
Well, the two-way phenom hit a two-run titanic bomb to straight away center that cleared the green batter’s eye. A distance of 420 feet from home plate with an additional 30 feet height!
Ohtani clubbed a 3-2 pitch from Dana Hills alum, righty Hans Crouse. Giving the Halos additional insurance runs and a 4-1 lead.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 3, 2021
The Angels looked good as a whole, defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2 before a small crowd at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Good pitching, clutch hitting, solid fielding, and gunning down runners on the bases.
The ‘Brief Breakdown’:
Pitching: Dylan Bundy started off his second spring training with the Angels pitching two solid innings. The tall right-hander struck out a batter and walked one during his first spring game. Heading into his free agent season with the momentum of a breakout 2020 season.
New Halos closer Raisel Iglesias’ first outing began a little rocky. He surrendered a solo home run to minor league outfielder Steele Walker to start the third inning before settling down. The righty would retire the following three batters in order.
Mike Mayers looked to pick-up where he left off last season. Quickly striking out David Dahl and Nate Lowe to start off a scoreless fourth inning pitched and picking up the victory in relief.
Hometown hopeful, non-roster invite Jake Faria pitched himself out of a jam in the fifth. Allowing a one-out triple and walk before striking out Delino Deshields and getting Dahl to fly out to left field. Holding the Angels 2-1 lead at the time.
Faria would attempt to close out the game in sixth by retiring the first two batters in the inning. He was pulled with two outs and runners on the corners by Thomas Pannone.
Pannone quickly allowing an RBI single by Adolis Garcia reducing the Angels lead to 4-2. The southpaw would battle back to retire Justin Foscue for the final out in the top of the sixth earning his first save of Cactus League play.
Batters: Dexter Fowler looked sharp at the plate drawing a walk to lead-off the game. He would hit a line drive double down the right field line in his second plate appearance before being pulled for the day.
Dex making himself comfortable in a Halos uni 🙌 @DexterFowler
Tune in to #LAASpring on FOX Sports West/FS GO!
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 3, 2021
Anthony Rendon made his first appearance in the line-up this spring and doubled in fourth to finish his day 1-for-2. Rendon, who has been resting due to soreness in his leg, was clearly not running at full speed on his double in the gap.
Luis Rengifo and Kurt Suzuki both came up big with two outs and runners in scoring position in the fourth. Rengifo driving in pinch-runner Kean Wong on line drive off the shortstops glove. Rengifo would steal second base and move to third on throwing error. Suzuki would hit line drive to right field on next pitch to give the Angels a 2-1 lead.
Jo Adell would walk in his lone plate appearance of the day and steal second base in the fifth inning before scoring on Ohtani’s blast.
Franklin Barreto would get some extra play in the bottom of the sixth inning and hit an RBI double to the left field wall in the extra bonus half inning off Joe Gatto. Barreto, out of options, fighting to make club as fifth infielder this Spring.
Talking points: Kurt Suzuki’s arm looked like it was in mid-season form early Wednesday. The veteran catcher gunned down speedy Leody Taveras attempting to steal second base in the first inning. Suzuki trying to beat out Max Stassi as the Angels Opening Day catcher.
Jo Adell received much criticism for some highly publicized fielding blunders in his rookie campaign. He looked sharp in his one big opportunity in the field today. Adell replaced Fowler in right field in the fourth inning and made a nice running catch down the right field line to end the inning.
Former Angels prospect Joe Gatto, now pitching for Texas, was sent to the mound in the bottom of the sixth and struggled. Walking Jose Rojas, Taylor Ward, and Phil Gosselin to open the inning. The 53rd overall selection by the Angels in the 2014 draft would get a double-play from catcher Keinner Pina before surrendering an RBI double to Barreto.
The Rangers would awkwardly pull Gatto off the field after just under 30 pitches to end their pitcher’s struggles and conclude the afternoon’s play.
Making the Angels 4-2 win, a final 6-2 win.
I know, these new 2021 spring training games are more like scrimmages.
On Thursday: Angels’ pitcher Griffin Canning takes the mound for his first start of the spring versus the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. Veteran lefty Madison Bumgarner is scheduled to start for Arizona in the 12:10 PT matinee.