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OC Register: Felix Pena, Francisco Arcia lead Angels to victory over Rangers


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ANAHEIM — Sometime in 2019, when the Angels’ games mean something again, fans might remember the end of this season as the time that they discovered Felix Peña and Francisco Arcia.

Peña tossed six scoreless innings and Arcia hit two homers and drove in four in the Angels’ 8-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

The Angels have won nine of their past 13 games to pulled to 73-73. Other than the performances of Peña and Arcia, the Angels also got another homer from José Fernández, two more hits from Shohei Ohtani and strong defense from Mike Trout.

A 28-year-old right-hander, Peña had been a reliever for the previous few seasons with the Chicago Cubs. The Angels got him to be a multi-inning reliever, but in late April at Triple-A they made him a starter.

He has now started 15 games in the majors, with a 3.53 ERA. Over his last six starts, he has a 2.37 ERA.

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Although Peña needed just 77 pitches to get through six innings on Wednesday night, the Angels still pulled him. He is going to end up with about double the number of innings he pitched last year, so the Angels might be trying to limit his workload down the stretch.

They had a comfortable lead in this one thanks mostly to Arcia and Fernández.

With two outs in the second, Arcia yanked a two-run double down the right-field line. In the third, Shohei Ohtani doubled and scored on a Justin Upton triple, as his line drive got past diving left fielder Shin-Soo Choo. Upton scored on Andrelton Simmons’ infield hit, and then Fernández hit a two-run homer. His second big-league homer came a night after his first.

Arcia padded the lead with a solo homers in the sixth and eighth. Arcia now has five homers in his first two months in the big leagues.

While the rookies provided the offense, Trout had the defensive play of the night.

With the Angels holding a 2-0 lead in the third, Trout threw out Robinson Chirinos at the plate to end the inning. He had tried to score from second on a single, and Trout fired a low, two-hopper right on the money.

Trout also made a nice catch in the gap in the fifth inning.

They were the latest defensive highlights for Trout as he puts the final touches on his bid for a Gold Glove, one of the few individual honors that has eluded him.

Trout has improved across the board in defensive metrics this season.

Most notably, he leads American League center fielders with four Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in center field, up from negative-six a year ago.

Further bolstering Trout’s chances, the recent winners seem to be off the board. Last year’s winner, Minnesota’s Byron Buxton, has been in the minors for much of the season. Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier, who won the two previous years, has missed half the season with injury.

Otherwise, the top candidates are probably Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. and Chicago’s Adam Engel, who are both ahead of Trout in the composite metric from the Society of American Baseball Research that goes directly into the selection process.

More to come on this story.

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42 minutes ago, Angel Oracle said:

Arcia is a great story, even if it ends up being just temporary.

Pena's ERA since going into the rotation (almost 80 innings) is under 3.00, excluding the late July start with the 7 run 1st inning blowup partly extended by Upton's misplay.   And he's no Bridwell, as the close to one K per inning for Pena indicates.

Maldonado, Arcia, Rivera, and Briceno have combined for .237/.284/.688 with 24 doubles, 17 HR, and 70 RBI, which really isn't too bad. 

Biggest worry with Pena...we saw Meyer, Bridwell, and Ramirez all fall to injury after extended use.

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1 minute ago, totdprods said:

Maldonado, Arcia, Rivera, and Briceno have combined for .237/.284/.688 with 24 doubles, 17 HR, and 70 RBI, which really isn't too bad. 

Biggest worry with Pena...we saw Meyer, Bridwell, and Ramirez all fall to injury after extended use.

Pena though doesn't exceed 93-94mph, which has to help him.   He throws hard enough, but not too hard.

It wouldn't hurt, admittedly, to limit his pitch count in his remaining 3 starts to 75-80.

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34 minutes ago, Angel Oracle said:

Pena though doesn't exceed 93-94mph, which has to help him.   He throws hard enough, but not too hard.

It wouldn't hurt, admittedly, to limit his pitch count in his remaining 3 starts to 75-80.

He was also starting in the minors only a couple years back too...but still. 

I'd rather see him in slotted for the #6 SP rotation (more ability to control pitches/innings with occasional SLC starts), a multi-inning reliever, or even some sort of 'opener' or tandem piggy-back option with another SP rather than 'Oh, he's our #4'.

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