The Los Angeles Angels found themselves on the right end of a back-and-forth affair with the Texas Rangers on Saturday night. And as it’s been for over a month now, Luis Rengifo was at the center of the team’s offensive success.
With the Angels trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning, a rally began. First, a Max Stassi single, Brandon Marsh walk, and David Fletcher double made it 7-6. Then back-to-back walks and a wild pitch tied the game up at seven. From there, Rengifo walked up to the plate.
And as he’s done so many times since his hot streak began on June 29, he roped an 83-mph curveball to the right field corner, giving the Angels a 9-7 lead with a double. They would ultimately hold on to this lead courtesy of Raisel Iglesias to win their first game of this series.
Prior to June 29, Rengifo was batting just .229 with a .633 OPS, routinely batting from the bottom three in the order. But a switch has flipped in the last month, where he has batted .348 with an .899 OPS and has been the Angels best hitter behind Shohei Ohtani.
On Saturday, he batted in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, a difficult-to-imagine scenario just two months ago. And perhaps no one is more excited for Rengifo’s recent success than Marsh, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“He’s my dog,” outfielder Brandon Marsh said. “We came up together. It’s cool seeing seeing Gifo thrive right now and for the rest of the year. We need it, and we’re going to need him to stay right there for the rest of the year.”
There’s no doubt that the Angels have needed this production. Beyond Ohtani — who hit a three-run home run in Saturday night’s win — there hasn’t been much to celebrate within the Angels offense. Mike Trout is on the IL for the time being, Anthony Rendon is out for the season, and Taylor Ward has been slumping since colliding with a wall several weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Fletcher just returned from injury and is 4-for-10 with two doubles in three games. Somebody needed to pick up the slack, and Rengifo stepped up in that moment of need.
Now the Angels just need to hope he can sustain it. Rengifo has shown flashes of brilliance at the plate before — albeit never for a full month — only to crash back down to Earth. This has the makings of a breakout moment for the 25-year old Venezuelan infielder, if he is able to capitalize on it.
Jo Adell facing more defensive issues
Issues in the outfield have been plaguing Jo Adell ever since he made his big league debut in 2020. And while there have been moments of improvement, he found himself on the wrong end of a bad error yet again on Friday night against the Rangers.
He took full responsibility for the mistake that gave Marcus Semien a Little League home run, but is now tasked with figuring out the root cause of these continued miscues.