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OC Register: Angels’ first base platoon enduring early struggles


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ANAHEIM ― There have been more than a week’s worth of games in Major League Baseball. The “OPENING WEEK” graphic spray-painted in foul territory at Angel Stadium insists otherwise.

It is early in the season in any event, so any outlier performances must be taken with a grain of salt. The Angels’ offensive production from their first basemen are no exception.

Through the Angels’ first seven games, the lefty/righty platoon of Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury combined for the lowest OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) ― .414 ― of any group of first baseman in MLB.

Lamb, a left-handed hitter, is 3 for 19 with a double and two walks to begin the season. Drury, the right-handed half of the tandem, is 4 for 24. He has yet to draw a walk through Friday while striking out seven times. Both went 0 for 4 in the series-opening loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

Drury was not in the starting lineup Saturday with a right-handed starter, Jose Berrios, on the mound for Toronto. Angels manager Phil Nevin called the decision “a matchup situation.” Lamb went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts before Drury took over at first base in the seventh inning.

Nevin praised Lamb for a hard-hit line drive Friday that was caught for an out. Statcast credits the veteran infielder with an expected slugging percentage of .340 compared to his actual .211, suggesting that Lamb is hitting better than his surface stats suggest. Drury’s expected slugging percentage of .281 suggests his struggles run deeper.

The platoon situation has persisted because incumbent first baseman Jared Walsh is on the 10-day injured list with headaches and insomnia. There is no timetable for Walsh to return, Nevin said.

“He’s doing OK,” Nevin said of Walsh. “He feels like he’s making a lot of progress, getting some clarity on what’s going on. We keep in contact with him.”

Walsh hit well in spring training, batting 14 for 35 (.400) with two home runs, which augered well in his attempt to rebound from a trying 2022 season. He and the Angels will have to wait for that quest to resume, however. Nevin said Walsh faces an indefinite “ramp-up period” once he returns from his rehab in Utah.

“He’s able to do some baseball activity here and there, especially on the weekends,” Nevin said of Walsh. “He really feels like he’s making a lot of progress.”

LONG INNING

The Angels’ Double-A affiliate, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, found themselves on the wrong end of a no-hitter ― even though they were the team that didn’t allow a hit.

Rocket City lost the first game of its doubleheader against Chattanooga, 7-5, despite not allowing any hits. Leading 3-0 in the seventh inning, pitcher Ben Joyce issued three walks around a forceout, then struck out a pinch hitter for the second out of the inning. A walk forced in one run before the game unraveled on a dropped fly ball in center field. Three runs scored on that play, giving Chattanooga a 4-3 lead.

Eric Torres relieved Joyce and hit the next three batters with pitches. A walk loaded the bases, and a wild pitch allowed another run to score, before Torres struck out the 13th batter of the inning to end it.

Rocket City won the second game of the doubleheader, 3-0.

ALSO

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani was presented with his Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award prior to Saturday’s game. … At Triple-A Salt Lake, Jo Adell hit a home run for the fifth consecutive game. … The Angel Stadium scoreboard operator identified Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the “nephew of former major leaguer Wilton Guerrero.”

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Reid Detmers, 0-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Yusei Kikuchi, 1-0, 1.80 ERA), Sunday, 1 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830-AM

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13 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

LONG INNING

The Angels’ Double-A affiliate, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, found themselves on the wrong end of a no-hitter ― even though they were the team that didn’t allow a hit.

Rocket City lost the first game of its doubleheader against Chattanooga, 7-5, despite not allowing any hits. Leading 3-0 in the seventh inning, pitcher Ben Joyce issued three walks around a forceout, then struck out a pinch hitter for the second out of the inning. A walk forced in one run before the game unraveled on a dropped fly ball in center field. Three runs scored on that play, giving Chattanooga a 4-3 lead.

Eric Torres relieved Joyce and hit the next three batters with pitches. A walk loaded the bases, and a wild pitch allowed another run to score, before Torres struck out the 13th batter of the inning to end it.

 

This is hilarious. Cue Benny Hill music...

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1 hour ago, gurn67 said:

Not getting any better. Angels have the worst OPS in MLB by their first basemen at .477.

They're 24th in OPS at both 2nd and 3rd. 

I'm interested to see how long of a leash they have with Lamb.

Nevin's familiarity with Lamb from their Arizona days likely means its a little longer, but they can't afford to wait forever.

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