Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon has not had a great season thus far. Two separate stints on the injured list and some bad luck at the plate have left him reeling and searching for answers to improve. Joe Maddon — who is not quick to lose faith in his players — stuck by him in the No. 3 spot in the lineup during Mike Trout’s absence.
That decision finally paid off in a massive way on Tuesday, as Rendon went 3-for-5 with five RBI’s against the San Francisco Giants in an 8-1 Angels victory. It had all the makings of a breakthrough performance for Rendon, with a two-RBI single and a bases clearing double in back-to-back at-bats.
Maddon spoke about what Rendon can take away from his best performance of the season, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Anthony made a huge difference in tonight’s game,” the Angels manager said. “You know it’s just a matter of time. … It’s something for him to build off. He’ll get his numbers. Just go ahead and look at the back of his baseball card. About a month from now that’s what it will look like.”
“Confidence and feel,” Maddon said. “That’s exactly what you’re seeing there. He’s done it before. He’s pretty good. And I’ve never seen him panic. You watch him, even through some bad at-bats. He’ll just put the bat down and go to his position. He’s boiling inside but he doesn’t show it externally, which I think is great. It’s a great way to be. And that’s why he’s so successful.”
Rendon desperately needed this type of game, as he was legitimately coming off one of the worst stretches of his career. His first 33 games of the 2021 season was the first 33-game stretch since 2016 where he had an OPS below .700. Even before 2016, he only had three such stretches in his career until now.
If Rendon’s bat can return to what it has been consistently over the past five years of his career, it gives the Angels an even better chance to stay afloat in the absence of Trout. It starts with games like Tuesday, where Rendon can look to when he needs some extra confidence in his game.
Max Stassi dazzles in return
Max Stassi returned on Tuesday after missing nearly the entire month of May with a concussion. He did not disappoint, showing exactly what the Angels missed from him. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI double, and also had some excellent plays behind the plate.