The Los Angeles Angels have been stuck in the same place for many seasons with preseason hype, a solid start and a letdown throughout the year. But with a few pressing matters ahead of them, many on the roster are feeling the pressure.
A solid start from the Angels has them atop the American League West, much in part to offensive outbursts and length from starting rotation. However, the memories of last season and their success through early May are difficult to forget how fast their success went downhill.
Angels owner Arte Moreno greenlit offseason spending amidst questions of him selling the team, but after adding Brandon Drury and Tyler Anderson, then trading for Hunter Renfroe alongside Gio Urshela, the Angels have a talented team, and Shohei Ohtani’s final contract season had a bit more to it.
According to Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register, after being around the team for his sixth season, David Fletcher feels a lot of the same vibe surrounding the Angels:
“There’s always urgency,” infielder David Fletcher said. “I don’t think we’ve ever not had urgency or effort. It’s not like ‘Oh, we’re gonna try harder this year and do it.’ I don’t believe that’s a thing. But high expectations, for sure.”
But others including first baseman Jared Walsh believe there’s more to this season than just a run-of-the-mill year:
“If anybody says they don’t feel that, they’re lying,” Walsh said last week. “It’s the major leagues. I think every team should have a sense of urgency. I don’t think it’s any secret that you always hear Mike’s had one playoff appearance in his career. Shohei hasn’t had any. We’ve got a great fan base that comes out and supports us. They want to see playoff baseball, so yeah, there’s no doubt we need to have a sense of urgency about getting into the postseason and playing meaningful baseball.”
Retaining manager Phil Nevin was high on the list for the Angels’ front office, and after much-needed reinforcements were added to the club, he believes there’s as good a reason as any to have high expectations:
“Any team that comes into camp with the talent that we have, if you don’t practice and play with a sense of urgency every day, I think you’re doing your teammates, your organization, your fans, an injustice,” Nevin said.
The Angels will be riding the wave of the season and hope that the building blocks fall into place. This early in the year there’s too much left to watch play out and where players fit into the mold.
Angels reliever Carlos Estévez ‘more locked in’ after tough spring
Estévez is coming off a breakout year that saw him hold opposing batters to a career-best .211 batting average. He also posted a 2.03 ERA from early July through the end of the regular season, which placed him in the top 10 among National League relievers.
Estévez hopes to build on that success with the Angels but hit a snag in Spring Training as he allowed nine runs in 7.2 innings of work. In his two first outings of the season, he’s posted back-to-back scoreless outings, including three punchouts in his Angels debut on April 2.
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