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OC Register: Angels top Twins with Moniak’s two-run double, Ohtani’s pitching


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ANAHEIM ― In eight games since he made his 2023 debut with the Angels, Mickey Moniak has displaced Taylor Ward as the leadoff hitter against right-handed pitchers, catalyzed the decision to designate outfielder Brett Phillips for assignment, and maintained a ridiculous .417 batting average.

Until this weekend’s series against the Minnesota Twins, however, he had not produced a big hit at a critical juncture in a game. Now he has two.

Moniak’s two-run double in the seventh inning of a tie game lifted the Angels to an eventual 3-2 victory before an announced crowd of 42,138 at Angel Stadium.

The Twins replaced starter Pablo Lopez with reliever Jorge Lopez, who promptly walked Matt Thaiss to begin the seventh inning. The next batter, Zach Neto, shot a double into right field, sending Thaiss to third base.

That brought up Moniak, a left-handed hitter. After watching two straight curveballs that were called balls, Moniak clobbered a fastball over the plate into the right-center field gap. Thaiss and Neto both scored, and the Angels had a 3-1 advantage.

A home run by Alex Kiriloff in the eighth inning against Matt Moore brought the Twins within 3-2. But the Angels got the run back in the bottom of the inning.

Gio Urshela singled, stole second base, and advanced to third when catcher Ryan Jeffers’ throw to second was off-line and skipped into center field. Thaiss hit a line drive into the left-field corner that allowed Urshela to score easily, giving the Angels a 4-2 lead.

Shohei Ohtani was impressive in his sixth start of the season, allowing just two hits and one run over six innings. But he was forced to settle for a no-decision because Pablo Lopez was every bit his equal.

Ohtani only fell behind 2-and-0 once, when he ultimately walked Joey Gallo in the third inning. The next batter, Carlos Correa, drove in Gallo with a double, giving Minnesota an early 1-0 lead.

Ohtani had no trouble inducing swings and misses; his 22 (on 99 total pitches) were a season-high. He is 5-1 with a 3.05 ERA this season. In four no-decisions, Ohtani has a 2.84 ERA with 35 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed across 19 innings.

At the plate, Ohtani went 1 for 3 with a single and drew the only intentional walk of the game.

The Angels’ only run against Pablo Lopez came in the fourth inning. Hunter Renfroe and Jared Walsh led off with back-to-back singles. For Walsh, it was his first hit of the season, after returning from headaches and insomnia the day before.

A sacrifice fly by the next batter, Urshela, drove in Renfroe to tie the game 1-1.

Reyes Moronta was the first pitcher out of the bullpen, but he bequeathed a bases-loaded, two-out situation to Chris Devenski (2-0).

Devenski then struck out Gallo, the only batter he faced, to end the inning.

The Angels (25-23) took two of the three games from the Twins (26-21). Moniak had one of the big hits in Friday’s win, a game-tying RBI triple to score Neto in the seventh inning.

More to come on this story.

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Mickey's gotta play. Maybe Ward can start platooning with Walsh at 1B.

I was optimistic about Ward coming into this season but now given his start to the season, and the fact that he didn't hit at all for 3 months last season, I've lost a lot of faith in him. It's tough, but this team needs to start performing better, and it comes down to production at the end of the day. Sure, it wouldn't feel good to demote Ward to a bench role, but we're talking about a guy here that has HALF a season of success. It's not as though he's put up 2 or 3 solid full seasons and we're benching him for a slow 6-week start.

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Moniak’s k rate is concerning, this year and last.

One or two of Ward, Rengifo, or Drury really need to start hitting at least above league-average. Just .750+ OPS even. Those three being MIA as long as they have has really hurt. Rengifo’s plate discipline has been okay, Drury’s had some power but awful BB:K. If Walsh comes back and hits like he once did it would be huge. 

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4 hours ago, Blarg said:

Moniak has only 8 games of success on his resume. 

Which is more success than Ward has seen this season, unfortunately.

I had high hopes for Ward after last year, but it comes down to upside and production. Moniak still has significant upside, and his production is not far behind.

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1 hour ago, totdprods said:

Moniak’s k rate is concerning, this year and last.

One or two of Ward, Rengifo, or Drury really need to start hitting at least above league-average. Just .750+ OPS even. Those three being MIA as long as they have has really hurt. Rengifo’s plate discipline has been okay, Drury’s had some power but awful BB:K. If Walsh comes back and hits like he once did it would be huge. 

One thing I've noticed about Drury so far is he seems to bring it up a notch with runners on base. I went and looked it up. He's hitting .290 with runners on base which is exactly what you want from someone who hits around the 6-7 spots in the lineup. 

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18 minutes ago, VladdyforHOF said:

Do you even watch the games or just look at the box score? Ward has looked horrible the entire season.

He's had 13 months in his career where he had at least 50 plate appearances. His OPS has been under .700 in 8 of those 13 months. Yes, he was exceptional 3 months last season, but hit just like he is now for the other 3 months last season. If he starts hitting, play him. If not, put the guy in who gives the team a better chance of winning each night. Texas is better than they've been in awhile, and Houston is Houston. If they keep hanging around the the .500 mark, they're going to be at least 10 games back by the All-Star break.

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37 minutes ago, gurn67 said:

One thing I've noticed about Drury so far is he seems to bring it up a notch with runners on base. I went and looked it up. He's hitting .290 with runners on base which is exactly what you want from someone who hits around the 6-7 spots in the lineup. 

Yeah, the 6 walks to 49 k or whatever is just particularly gruesome and a little ominous on how he’ll fare this year and next. I haven’t given up on him, Ward, or Rengifo yet by any means, but one or two of those three really should start turning things around soon otherwise eek

 

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52 minutes ago, totdprods said:

Yeah, the 6 walks to 49 k or whatever is just particularly gruesome and a little ominous on how he’ll fare this year and next. I haven’t given up on him, Ward, or Rengifo yet by any means, but one or two of those three really should start turning things around soon otherwise eek

 

One glaring thing with Urshela, Ward, Rengifo, and Rendon combined is the lack of XBHs, only 23 in 628 PAs!

Urshela and Rendon are contributing in other areas, and Rengifo is drawing BBs, but the power outage may be cause for concern.

Edited by Angel Oracle
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