The Los Angeles Angels open the 2021 MLB season on April 1 at home against the Chicago White Sox. When they do, it will be 2020 ace and top-10 Cy Young finisher Dylan Bundy on the mound, the team announced Monday morning.
Bundy is coming off of a career year in his first season with the Angels. In 11 starts, Bundy went 6-3 with an ERA of 3.29, a 1.036 WHIP, 72 strikeouts, and 17 walks allowed. He finished ninth in Cy Young voting, making him one of the top vote-getters in recent Angels history.
Bundy was always the most likely choice after his 2020 performance, but the Angels did have several other options to pick from. Given that the team does not have a legitimate perennial Cy Young candidate, all six starters could have been given this opportunity.
Andrew Heaney, Shohei Ohtani, Griffin Canning, Jose Quintana, and Alex Cobb have all shown positive signs either in Spring Training or in recent years. However, Bundy is the right decision at the end of the day.
The Angels made the choice official on Monday morning via Twitter:
This is a huge year for Bundy and the entire Angels starting rotation. The team’s batting and fielding should have almost no issues producing given the talent that will be playing on a nightly basis. However, it’s been pitching — and especially starting pitching — that has been the team’s downfall since the arrival of Mike Trout.
Trout still has plenty of years of top-tier baseball left, but the Angels must turn his remarkable production into postseason appearances before it’s too late.
The White Sox will be a great first matchup for Bundy and the Halos, with talent up and down the roster. Luis Robert, Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, and others will ensure that the Angels have anything but an easy opening series.
Chicago has not yet made their opening day starter official, but all signs point to Lucas Giolito taking the mound on April 1.
Ohtani feeling confident after Spring Training outings
Despite some mistakes in his first two starts, Ohtani has shown a lot of promising signs in just four innings of play. He’s struck out nine batters, but has also allowed six runs. Despite that, he remains confident in his performance and appears ready for the season to begin.