The Los Angeles Angels have been through it all this season. And Thursday’s series opener against the Cleveland Guardians was a microcosm of some of the unusual circumstances surrounding Phil Nevin’s Angels in 2023. It started when Mickey Moniak was scratched just minutes before first pitch with back tightness.
Brett Phillips replaced Moniak in the lineup. Then, just as the red-hot Luis Rengifo was prepping for his first at-bat of the game — in the No. 3 spot in the lineup due to injuries — he suffered a left bicep strain. Randal Grichuk stepped in for him.
Nevin then had to watch as a makeshift lineup that featured only one player from Opening Day — Brandon Drury — went toe-to-toe with the Guardians before finally pulling through in the end, a nice change of pace from the last five weeks.
Grichuk, Rengifo’s replacement in the lineup, hit a walk-off single to give the Angels a 3-2 victory to break a six-game losing streak. Nevin, for one, was relieved to see one go the Halos way, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“We played the same game, it feels like, every day,” Nevin said. “It’s nice to get on top of one. Just a lot of good things happened.”
Things have gotten so out of hand for the now 65-76 Angels, that Nevin was asked about whether or not he feels the team is cursed following the win.
“Whatever you believe in, I suppose,” Nevin said. “There are things that happened this year that are just out of the norm. (Pitcher Chase) Silseth getting hit by your first baseman (and suffering a concussion). Just some weird things have happened. It’s been a trying year, but it’s something that we all need to learn from and deal with. You get better through adversity and we certainly had a lot of it.”
All the Angels can do now is attempt to finish out the season in one piece. But now, the statuses of Rengifo and Moniak could be up in the air with the injuries they suffered on Thursday.
The win momentarily distracts from all that’s gone wrong for L.A. this season, and defeating the Guardians would have an extra boost with them claiming three of the five waived Angels in Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and Matt Moore.
Patrick Sandoval struggling to find rhythm
It was another difficult outing for Patrick Sandoval against the Baltimore Orioles, as he continues with a forgettable 2023 campaign after cementing himself as a core rotation piece in 2021 and 2022.
He’s hoping to find a rhythm before the end of the season to help him build for 2024.