Phil Nevin: ‘We’ve Missed’ Anthony Rendon In Angels Lineup
MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
Apr 26, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) hits a single against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels lineup was built around their top-end talent in Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, but they’ve missed a key member in Anthony Rendon, who returned to the team this week.

Missing three weeks with a groin injury left a void in the heart of their batting order that sorely missed another run-producing bat. In games the veteran third baseman has played in this season, the Angels have posted a .295 batting average with runners in scoring position, which goes up to .302 with Rendon counted in.

In the time Rendon spent on the injured list, the Angels mustered a meager .187 average with runners in scoring position, something that manager Phil Nevin hopes turns around with his return, per Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:

“When you see that at-bat and you watch it every day, I think that bleeds into the team, and we have not had that at-bat from Anthony in a few weeks,” Nevin said. “Now you put more pressure on yourself to do that and fill in for him. If you just watch his at-bats, he takes a winning at-bat every time. We’ve missed that at-bat.”

Rendon has been known as one of the most patient and smart hitters in all of baseball prior to joining the Angels. His injury run is the only thing that prevented him from displaying a solid run of production:

“There’s a lot of people in our game that don’t think the RBI is a skill and it absolutely is,” Nevin said. “It’s a mentality. It’s a way you go about your at-bats. It’s wanting those situations. We’ve got to want to hit in those situations. We’ve got to want to come up there with a runner at second. We’ve got to want to come up there with a runner at third.”

The Angels are scoring 4.84 runs per game heading into play on June 8, up nearly a full run from their 2022 mark. Nevin should do everything he can to evaluate the best mix of talent and how to structure his starting lineup with Rendon right in the middle.

Angels believe Taylor Ward is ‘getting close’

The Angels have seen Taylor Ward jump out of the gate to a hot start, giving fans a peek into another player who may star in their offense. But on both occasions, his bat has cooled off, leaving them with another sizable hole in the batting order.

The Angels haven’t been as consistent as an entire unit, but in their two-game split with the Chicago White Sox and three games against the Houston Astros this past week, his bat began to heat up.

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