Angels 7, Athletics 3 (7 innings) – Cactus League 3/5/21 Breakdown

by BJ Martin, Angels Nation Staff  

It was Shohei Ohtani day at Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium. 

Regardless of what anyone else did. Everything was going to be measured based on the pitching performance of Ohtani. 

He did not disappoint. His fastball being tracked between 96 – 100 mph. 

The right-hander has been limited to one and two-thirds innings pitched the past three years. 

Friday, he pitched one and two-thirds innings striking out five Athletics hitters to account for all five outs. He did allow three hits, two walks, and one run before leaving the game.

That didn’t matter.

What was important was Ohtani’s look of confidence and healthy facing ten Oakland batters Friday. 

By the way, the Angels would go on to defeat the Athletics 7-3 in seven innings.

The ‘Brief Breakdown’: 

Pitching:  

While Ohtani was the talk of the day, he was accompanied by a few other pitching performances worth noting. 

Kyle Keller entered the game for Ohtani with two runners on base and two outs. He would strike out veteran Elvis Andrus looking to end the frame. Keller would return for the third inning and surrender a home run to Athletics’ slugger Matt Olsen. 

Patrick Sandoval opened the 4th inning with an impressive four-pitch swinging strikeout of Chad Pinder. He’d load the bases with three straight walks. Finally getting Andrus to hit a ground ball to shortstop Jeremiah Jackson.

The young future MLB shortstop prospect made an impressive unassisted double play to end the inning. Sandoval would record a total of 3 strikeouts in two innings of relief. 

Veteran Jesse Chavez made his first appearance of the spring, one-week following signing his minor league contract with the club. He looked rusty getting tagged pretty hard by opposing Athletics hitters.

Left-handed non-roster invite Thomas Pannone showed good command of the strike zone closing out the game with a 1-2-3 7th inning.

Batters:  

Unlike Thursday, the Angels sent their A-team to support Ohtani Friday in Mesa. 

Dexter Fowler opened up the hitting with a one-out ringing single to right field after Mike Trout was hit by a pitch. Fowler would finish the day 1-for-2 and is hitting .400 for the spring. 

Luis Rengifo made the best of his start at third base. Hitting an opposite field, game-tying home run in the 3rd inning. He would draw a walk in the game and finds himself 3-for-4 (.750) in the first week of Cactus League play. 

Justin Upton hit his first home run of the spring on a laser to left field. The starting left fielder finished the 2020 season strong and looks to remain healthy and keep the bat alive heading into regular season. 

Shortstop Jose Iglesias continued his hot hitting with his second triple of the early spring training season. The opposite field deep fly over the center fielder’s head resulted in an easy three-bagger for Iglesias. 

A couple guys battling for bench spots both hit doubles in the game. Outfielder Scott Schebler and infielder Franklin Barreto both hit two-baggers and helped their chances of making the club. 

Orange County product Jose Rojas hit a solo home run to right field lead-off the top of the 7th inning off fellow lefty Nik Turley.

Talking points:  

Joe Maddon stated before Friday’s game that he does not intend to use Shohei Ohtani as a “once-a-week” starter. Instead planning on a regular scheduled 6-man rotation. He reiterated that he wants the young two-way star to guide his own career.

Having more input on his volume of participation as designated hitter and pitcher. This is quite departure from the ‘rules’ put in place under Mike Scioscia and Billy Eppler previously.   

On Saturday: Jose Quintana will make his second start of the spring for the Angels against the Colorado Rockies back at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Rockies are scheduled to send Dereck Rodriguez, son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, to the mound. Start time set for 12:10 PM (PT) and will be broadcast for television on Fox Sports West and MLB Network and radio on KLAA. 

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