Before the regular season officially begins on April 1, the Los Angeles Angels will first get a look at their cross-town rivals in a three-game freeway series against the L.A. Dodgers. Given these will be the final three games before the season begins, Opening Day starter Dylan Bundy is expected not to take the mound at all, with his final spring training outing coming on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.
However, at least four of the Angels six starting pitchers will see some innings against what could be baseball’s best team for the second straight year. While it will not carry the same weight as a regular season game, it will be an intriguing matchup to watch.
On Thursday, it was announced that Griffin Canning, Andrew Heaney, Jose Quintana, and Shohei Ohtani will all see action against the Dodgers, according to Daniel Guerrero of MLB.com:
Griffin Canning and Andrew Heaney are both expected to throw on Sunday to open the Freeway Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Angel Stadium.
Two-way player Shohei Ohtani is expected to take the mound on Monday when the series moves over to Dodger Stadium, while lefty José Quintana is set to make an appearance in the final exhibition game on Tuesday.
The Angels sixth starting pitcher, Alex Cobb, will take the mound on Saturday against the San Diego Padres. The only detail left to hash out will be whether or not Ohtani hits on Monday at Dodger Stadium:
Maddon said the decision to have Ohtani hit and pitch in his start at Dodger Stadium is still up in the air.
“We haven’t had that conversation yet,” he said. “If he’s into it, I would.”
Usually, Ohtani will not turn down an opportunity to hit and pitch in the same game, making it likely that he’ll get that chance on Monday. It will be another great look at his two-way abilities after a successful first experiment earlier this week.
This sequence of pitchers against the Dodgers should also give some insight into how the starting rotation will look to start the season. Bundy will be the ace, with Cobb, Heaney, Canning, Ohtani, and Quintana behind him in that order. Things can change of course, but keeping this pattern would ensure everyone gets at least five days off between outings.
Opening Day lineup undecided
Although Thursday’s lineup against the Rockies looked very much like an Opening Day lineup, Angels manager Joe Maddon would not commit one way or another. He said that Thursday’s lineup was the decision of bench coach Mike Gallego and that he will be the one to decide what things look like on Opening Day.