Tuesday could have been a day where the Los Angeles Angels let their emotions get the best of them. After trading three core members of the roster — Brandon Marsh, Raisel Iglesias, and Noah Syndergaard — it would have been easy to fall flat.
Instead, on the backs of Jose Suarez and David Fletcher, the Angels put together a complete performance in a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics. The win signified the Halos’ second in three games and came with some promising moments.
The first was Fletcher’s leadoff home run, coming off of a 1-1 fastball from Cole Irvin. In four games since returning from two hip injuries, Fletcher is batting 5-for-14 (.357) with a 1.071 OPS, two doubles, and now a home run.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin discussed Fletcher’s home run and how the team feeds off of his success, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“We don’t expect many of (homers) out of him, but when a game starts like that, it’s a big shot in the arm for the group,” Nevin said. “The energy picks up. The first time he’s got to wear the hat this year. So it was cool.”
The Angels also saw another strong outing from Suarez, who has not allowed an earned run in 10.1 innings after debuting a new pitch mix that heavily features a slider. In 5.0 innings, Suarez allowed one (unearned) run on five hits and two walks, with five strikeouts.
Nevin was particularly happy with Suarez’s ability to get out of jams, something he did multiple times on Tuesday night.
“Since he’s been back I’ve been very proud of how he’s gone about his work,” Nevin said. “He’s worked on his body and it’s going to help him get deeper into the game. I was really impressed with the way he pitched out of traffic all night.”
The remainder of the 2022 season might be lost in terms of contending for the postseason. However, it’s never a bad time to build winning habits and find a formula that works. On Tuesday, the Angels got a glimpse of what that formula might look like.
A Look Ahead
The Angels have Shohei Ohtani and Janson Junk as the scheduled starters in Games 2 and 3 of their series against the Athletics. They’ll face off against James Kaprielian and Paul Blackburn in those outings as they go for their second series win in three attempts.