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  1. ANAHEIM — Joe Maddon doesn’t expect that he’ll do what Joe Girardi did to Max Scherzer on Tuesday night. Girardi, the Philadelphia Phillies manager, asked umpires to do an extra search of the Washington Nationals ace for illegal substances, which visibly irritated Scherzer and Nationals manager Dave Martinez. “It’s within the rule book to be able to do that,” Maddon said. “My personal philosophy is going to be to trust the umpires. As long as they’re vigilant checking on occasion, like they’re supposed to, I don’t think I’m going to be any more suspicious.” Maddon said if he has reason to suspect a pitcher may need an extra check, he or one of his base coaches would probably suggest it to the umpires between innings, rather than initiating an extra spot check immediately. “I hate living in a suspicious world, man, I hate it,” Maddon said. “I hate conspiracy theories. I don’t like any of that stuff. I’m not that guy normally. So I want to just let the umpires do their jobs. “But there are times that you want to interfere a little bit or interject and just try to pick the right times.” UPTON UPDATE Justin Upton was not in the lineup a day after coming out of the game with back tightness. Maddon said he believes Upton will be able to play Friday in Tampa, after an off day Thursday. “He felt a lot better today, but definitely not well enough to play,” Maddon said. “He’s had issues in the past that he knows how to manage. And he was very confident that he can manage this one.” RENGIFO IN RIGHT Luis Rengifo did not play a single game in the outfield at Triple-A this season, but on Wednesday he started his fourth consecutive in right field. On Tuesday night, his misplay was critical in the four-run first inning that put the Angels in a hole. When Maddon was asked Wednesday why Rengifo had not been used in the outfield at Triple-A, he said: “It just didn’t happen. They were more focused on getting him work on the infield, which we thought was going to be the spot.” Related Articles Hoornstra: Baseball’s best and worst umpires, by the numbers Angels shut out by Giants as Justin Upton leaves with injury Angels send Jose Quintana to the bullpen, where he’ll work in short relief Albert Pujols on his Dodgers days: ‘This is the most fun that I’ve had in awhile’ Angels activate José Quintana, send down Chris Rodriguez and Jaime Barria Maddon, however, also said he thinks Rengifo has played well enough in the outfield so far. Rengifo had also played the outfield sporadically in previous seasons. “We wish we had possibly had him play out there more often, but it does not seem to be impactful right now,” Maddon said. UP NEXT Angels (RHP Griffin Canning, 5-4, 5.07 ERA) at Rays (TBA), 4:10 p.m. Friday, Bally Sports West, 830 AM View the full article
  2. “This is a bad strike zone,” I thought. Could it have been the center-field camera angle Monday night in San Diego? No, the looks on the players’ faces confirmed it. These were veteran hitters – AJ Pollock, Steven Souza Jr. – who grimaced backward at umpire Jordan Baker. I could tell this was no ordinary strike zone. It was bad. Testing this hypothesis, traditionally, is a pain in the rear. The quickest method is to open MLB’s app or website. There, you can see pitches plotted against a two-dimensional strike zone, then scour the most memorable at-bats for each egregious call. Sometimes this offers evidence of a deceitful camera angle. It also leads to a lot of confirmation bias. To avoid it, you can’t just scour the suspicious at-bats; you need to take in the umpire’s full body of work on a given night. The Statcast search engine helps. With a couple clicks, it lets you search for every ball called a strike and every strike taken for a ball after each game has ended. That’s a decent tool for gauging raw accuracy, but there’s something to be said for an ump’s consistency. Were Souza and Pollock looking over their shoulders Monday because pitches that were previously called balls were suddenly called strikes? That’s difficult to gauge visually with Statcast. You need something more. Even postgame clubhouse access has its limits. Occasionally a player or manager has the capacity to reflect honestly in the moment, and the candor to speak openly about it with reporters. I’ve heard a few variations on “I looked at the video and I was wrong; that was a good call,” or “in spite of my reactions, the strike zone was pretty consistent all night.” More often, you realize your search for a reliable narrator shouldn’t begin in the clubhouse, where emotions tend to color every opinion. Boston University student Ethan Singer shared my frustration. A computer science and statistics major, he possesses a very useful skill in the quest for objective truth about balls and strikes. Last summer, the 19-year-old began writing a program that draws on Statcast data to fill in the knowledge gap. The result is Umpire Scorecards, a popular Twitter account whose content recently migrated to a website of the same name. The Twitter account has nearly 90,000 followers, including major league players, coaches, managers, analysts, front-office executives, scouts, broadcasters ― just about anyone with skin in the game. Singer said some umpires even reached out to him independently as the account grew in popularity. Their feedback informed the changes he’s made to his code. It also informed his opinion of umpires. “At a small sample, the difference between 100 and 80 percent accurate is likely not that much,” Singer said. “At some level, somebody of the same ability could have both of those scores given the same pitches. It’s just a very hard task.” Singer wisely grades umps for both consistency and accuracy. His data confirmed my initial suspicion about Baker’s strike zone Monday night in San Diego. At 91%, its accuracy was below the 94% league average. But Baker was consistent with 96% of his calls – average for a major-league umpire. The most-viewed scorecards on Singer’s site are not always the worst. When we spoke last week, a June 6 game between the Yankees and Red Sox called by Gabe Morales was trending. Morales was on his game that night. He correctly called all 57 pitches taken in the rulebook strike zone as strikes. Only four rulebook balls were called strikes (98% accuracy) and his consistency was even more remarkable: only 1 of 115 taken pitches was called untrue to Morales’ established strike zone. Think about the most memorable ball/strike calls from the last game you watched. Chances are, an umpire’s worst calls come to mind more readily than his best. I think this helps explain why the most accurately called games are the most popular on Singer’s website and Twitter feed. Accuracy is hidden from view, a surprise until the data is displayed before our eyes. Inaccuracy is more obvious. “Usually the majority of the trending games on the site are trending because they’re high accuracy,” Singer said. For everything Ump Scorecards says about fans, it says more about the umpires themselves. The average umpire is 94% accurate with respect to the rulebook strike zone. Among umps who have called at least 10 games this season through Tuesday, only two are above 95.0% accuracy for the season: Tripp Gibson and Alan Porter. The least accurate are Rob Drake and Ron Kulpa (both at 91.5%). The most consistent is Pat Hoberg (98.3%); the least consistent is Hunter Wendelstedt (92.9%). This might help explain why we hear players complain about consistency more than rulebook accuracy: Not only is it more essential to a player’s understanding of the strike zone, it tends to vary more from one game to the next. Ump Scorecards also quantifies bias for or against specific teams. The most favored team in baseball? The Texas Rangers. The least? The Dodgers. This affirms what has been called the “compassionate strike zone.” Data shows that the strike zone shrinks to its smallest area when a batter is behind in the count 0-and-2. The zone grows largest when a pitcher is behind 3-and-0. Human compassion routinely enters the umpiring equation, favoring the underdog. Teams who are best at throwing strikes, then, should be shown the least compassion by home plate umpires. Judging solely by their records, the Dodgers (44-29) and Rangers (26-47) are representative opposites. What does all of this mean for the future of balls and strikes being called by humans? I put the question to Singer. He’s in favor of MLB instituting automated strike zones, if the technology is capable of improving on human accuracy. He’s also trying to incorporate historical Pitch F/X data into his website to create a multi-year database. Data is generally less accurate as it gets older. Even the most current data uses a two-dimensional plot of a three-dimensional ball flying through a three-dimensional strike zone. (Singer carefully refers to his work as a “best guess.”) But the broad trend line is clear, and it calls focus on the stakes for automated balls and strikes. Related Articles Hoornstra: MLB’s sudden morality over foreign substances is ill-timed MLB threatens pitchers with 10-game bans for altering balls Alexander: Spin cycle is forcing MLB’s (sticky) hand Statcast records pitches mistakenly called balls after slicing the middle of the plate, and pitches taken extremely high, low or wide of the plate mistakenly called strikes. These are the most egregious, memorable mistakes a home plate umpire can make. They’ve been reduced sixfold since 2008. We can’t know how consistent these calls were with respect to the established strike zone for the game – I’ll leave that to Singer – but umpires today are far more accurate than they were 12 years ago. That much seems obvious. The question is, how much more accurate can humans get at this task? If they can’t reach 100%, how accurate is accurate enough? A generation ago, 94% might have been an impossible dream, but we got there. Thanks to Singer, that’s never been more clear. View the full article
  3. ANAHEIM ― San Francisco Giants pitcher Anthony DeSclafani stuck out his glove and found a baseball, flipped it into his bare hand, and threw out Jose Iglesias in the fourth inning Tuesday night. Even a 100-mph ground ball destined for center field stood no chance at Angel Stadium on this night – that is, if the Angels hit it. The Giants? They have baseball’s best record for a reason. DeSclafani offered no margin for error, and the Angels barrelled through the margin quickly en route to a 5-0 loss before an announced crowd of 28,354. With a runner on first base in the first inning, Darin Ruf hit a catchable fly ball to right field. Luis Rengifo, an infielder making his third major league start in the outfield, took a poor route to the warning track and the ball fell for a double. Instead of the inning’s second out, Ruf reached second base safely on a double. The next batter, Buster Posey, hit a deep ground ball to score a run. Angels starter Andrew Heaney (4-5) barely made it out of the inning. Brandon Belt dropped a bunt single down a vacant third-base line, scoring another run. Wilmer Flores slugged a two-run homer. Finally, Heaney whistled a two-strike changeup past Donovan Solano on his 29th pitch, the game’s third out. That Heaney gutted his way through six innings would have to suffice as consolation. Little else went right for the Angels, who fell a game below .500 (36-37) for the third time in the last week. Justin Upton was removed from the game with lower back stiffness after swinging and missing at a fading slider to end the second inning. Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. Twice, the Angels got runners on second and third base against DeSclafani. Each time, they came up empty. Related Articles Angels send Jose Quintana to the bullpen, where he’ll work in short relief Angels activate José Quintana, send down Chris Rodriguez and Jaime Barria Angels aim to keep red-hot Justin Upton in leadoff spot Angels’ Shohei Ohtani maintains sizable lead in All-Star voting at DH Angels get another Shohei Ohtani homer but lose in 10 innings Ohtani and Jared Walsh (1 for 4) were kept off the scoreboard following three consecutive games with a home run. The Angels were shut out for the fourth time this season, the last coming May 27 in Oakland. DeSclafani (8-2) used his five-pitch mix effectively over seven innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out nine. Heaney’s night improved dramatically after the first inning. He struck out 10 batters and walked none. Thanks in part to the Angels’ defense, Heaney also allowed 10 hits. Mauricio Dubon hit a solo home run in the second inning to pad the Giants’ lead. The newest member of the Angels’ bullpen, left-hander Jose Quintana, didn’t allow a run in his first game since returning from the injured list. Right-hander Junior Guerra followed with two scoreless innings of his own. View the full article
  4. ANAHEIM ― If the next step for Jose Quintana wasn’t obvious from his performance, it was confirmed when the Angels activated the veteran left-hander from the injured list Monday, days before the team needed a starting pitcher. Quintana is headed to the bullpen, Manager Joe Maddon confirmed Tuesday. Save for last season, most of which he missed because of a fluke injury to his left hand, Quintana has been a starter for the entirety of his 10-year major league career. “We spoke with ‘Q’ a couple days ago,” Maddon said. “Total team guy. He absolutely gets it: ‘I’ll do whatever it takes.’ We could flip him back into the rotation at some point. He still views himself as a starter but isn’t going out there with any kind of chip on his shoulder regarding being upset.” Quintana was 0-3 with a 7.22 earned-run average in nine starts before he was sidelined by inflammation in his left shoulder on May 31. The 32-year-old signed a one-year, $8 million contract in January. He has walked 26 batters in 33⅓ innings. The decision to bump Quintana from the rotation was made possible by the emergence of left-hander Patrick Sandoval. The 24-year-old from Mission Viejo has a 3.13 earned-run average in six starts since he joined the Angels’ rotation as an injury replacement. He has completed five innings in each of his last five outings, including a victory over the Tigers on Saturday. Overall, Sandoval is 2-2 with a 3.69 ERA in nine appearances this season. “We felt it was not wise to take Sandoval out of the rotation,” Maddon said. Quintana’s role isn’t set in stone, but Maddon said his appearances would occur in shorter spurts rather than long-relief appearances. RODRIGUEZ ROCKETS UP On Monday the Angels optioned right-hander Chris Rodriguez to Double-A Rocket City, where he will be built up as a starting pitcher. Rodriguez had been used exclusively as a reliever in 13 appearances this season, going 2-0 with a 3.66 ERA. Rodriguez had a 2.30 ERA before going on the injured list with shoulder inflammation in May. Since he returned earlier this month, he’s allowed four earned runs in four innings. Rodriguez hasn’t thrown more than 1⅓ innings in a single outing since April. Now, Maddon said, he will get a chance to build his stamina at Double-A before reporting to Triple-A. Related Articles Angels activate José Quintana, send down Chris Rodriguez and Jaime Barria Angels aim to keep red-hot Justin Upton in leadoff spot Angels’ Shohei Ohtani maintains sizable lead in All-Star voting at DH Angels get another Shohei Ohtani homer but lose in 10 innings Angels’ David Fletcher heating up but staying in the No. 9 spot “Pitching there is a little more amenable to doing that as opposed to Salt Lake City (where the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate is based), not because of competition, more because of elements,” Maddon said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to control because the ball flies there, quite frankly.” The Rocket City Trash Pandas are based in Madison, Alabama. ALSO The Angels recalled pitcher José Quijada from Triple-A Salt Lake for the third time this season. The left-hander appeared in one game during each of his first two stints, throwing 3⅓ scoreless innings. In 12 games with Salt Lake, Quijada is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 22 strikeouts. … The Angels had an open space on their roster after demoting Rodriguez and Jaime Barría on Monday. … Wednesday’s game has the potential to be the first in major league history in which a National League team uses a designated hitter and an American League team does not. UP NEXT Angels (RHP Shohei Ohtani, 3-1, 2.70 ERA) vs. San Francisco (RHP Kevin Gausman, 8-1, 1.51 ERA), Wednesday, 1:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM View the full article
  5. Hello Ciller,

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  6. SAN DIEGO — The shade stretched all the way up I-5 to Anaheim. “This is the most fun that I’ve had in a while,” Albert Pujols said Monday afternoon about his time with the Dodgers. “I’m having a great time right now, enjoying every moment, And, I’m just glad every time I’m out there I can help this ballclub to win and that’s my goal. I really don’t think ahead and just really focus on the moment and I’m enjoying this moment right now.” On the field, Pujols has been exactly what the Dodgers hoped. He was signed to provide offensive production against left-handed pitching and he has done exactly that, batting .372 (16 for 43) with five home runs and 13 RBIs against lefties. And Pujols’ new teammates over the past month have raved about his clubhouse presence and the positive energy he brought to the team. Pujols returns the compliment in explaining why he is enjoying his moment in blue. “I think just the chemistry, the opportunity,” he said. “I think being around the veteran guys that have the same mindset that I have about winning and helping this organization. I think it’s just a great mix of guys. It reminds me of my times back in St. Louis. That’s how I felt as soon as I walked in the clubhouse from Day One. Just the vibe and the energy that were in the clubhouse.” Left unmentioned is the time between his days in St. Louis and his Dodger days – the nine-plus seasons he spent with the Angels. When asked, Pujols said he has enjoyed every day that he has put on a big-league uniform including with the Angels “even knowing that at that time there, we were not playing as well and I know the fans and the organization was disappointed … that we were not in first place or playing better.” The Angels made the playoffs just once during Pujols’ nine seasons there and had losing records each of his last five seasons with them – as his 10-year, $240 million contract became increasingly burdensome. Could the “fun” he’s having for the first time in a while simply be a reaction to playing for a contender? “I don’t think so because you’re talking about success like this is the first time that I had success,” said Pujols, a two-time World Series champion with the Cardinals. “I had success for a lot of years of my career. This is not the first time. “I don’t know, I can’t tell you what it is. … I’m just enjoying every opportunity and every moment. I can’t tell you what it is but … I know when I’m healthy, what I can do, and I’m working hard every day. I’m not taking anything for granted. So I think those are the things that has helped me so far.” COMING SOON Infielder Max Muncy (oblique) and outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger (hamstring) took at-bats in a simulated-game setting against left-hander Scott Alexander (shoulder) on Monday afternoon. Roberts said Muncy will be activated from the injured list and start Tuesday night’s game. Bellinger will be activated and start Wednesday. Related Articles Dodgers’ offense quiet again in latest loss to Padres Dodgers have asked starting pitchers to carry a heavy workload Dodgers dominated by Yu Darvish in loss to Padres Inside the Dodgers: The Zach Reks effect Dodgers complete sweep of last-place Diamondbacks Shortstop Corey Seager (hand) did not travel with the team to San Diego. He remained in Arizona and took at-bats against pitchers at Camelback Ranch. Seager is expected to start a minor-league injury-rehabilitation assignment later this week. ROSTER MOVE The Dodgers returned right-hander Edwin Uceta to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday and promoted outfielder Zach Reks. Reks made his major-league debut against the Padres, starting in left field. Reks was the Dodgers’ 10th-round pick out of the University of Kentucky in 2017 and was hitting .341 in Triple-A with a 1.022 OPS. He reached base in 30 of his 31 starts for OKC, ranking in the top four among Triple-A West (formerly the Pacific Coast League) hitters in doubles (14), runs (32) and on-base percentage (.445). UP NEXT Dodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 8-6, 3.36 ERA) at Padres (LHP Blake Snell, 2-3, 5.72 ERA) Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, MLB Network, 570 AM View the full article
  7. José Quintana, who struggled as a starter before going on the injured list, has rejoined the Angels’ pitching staff, but it’s not likely that he’s going back into the rotation at this time. Quintana was activated Monday, but the Angels already have Andrew Heaney and Shohei Ohtani scheduled to start the next two games, which suggests Quintana will pitch out of the bullpen. The Angels also sent down relievers Chris Rodriguez and Jaime Barria. They will have make at least one more move before Tuesday’s night’s game to get the active roster back to 26. Rodriguez was sent to Double-A, which could be an indication that the Angels want to stretch him out as a starter. Rodriguez had a 2.30 ERA before going on the injured list with shoulder inflammation in May, but since he returned earlier this month he has allowed four earned runs in four innings. On Sunday, Rodriguez retired only one of four hitters he faced. Barria was sent to Triple-A just a couple days after he was called up to provide innings coverage in the bullpen. He did not pitch during this stint in the big leagues. Quintana now could be the long man in the bullpen. Related Articles Angels aim to keep red-hot Justin Upton in leadoff spot Angels’ Shohei Ohtani maintains sizable lead in All-Star voting at DH Angels get another Shohei Ohtani homer but lose in 10 innings Angels’ David Fletcher heating up but staying in the No. 9 spot Angels’ Patrick Sandoval makes his case for rotation spot in victory over Tigers The Angels signed Quintana to a one-year $8-million deal over the winter, but he had a 7.22 ERA after nine starts and then went down with shoulder inflammation after his May 30 outing. He has walked 26 in 33 2/3 innings. When Quintana went on the injured list, Patrick Sandoval stepped in to his spot. Sandoval, who previously filled in for Alex Cobb, now has a 3.69 ERA, including a 3.13 mark in six starts. View the full article
  8. ANAHEIM — Joe Maddon was recently running through the minutiae of his batting order choices for a particular day when he dropped an unexpected name. “I did not want to move Upton. Rickey’s staying put.” Wait, Rickey? After Maddon had finished his lengthy answer about the order, he was asked to go back and clarify his use of the name “Rickey.” “Henderson?” Maddon said with a chuckle. “Leading off: Justin Henderson.” Maddon’s homage to Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, was perhaps a bit of hyperbole, but Justin Upton’s surprising success at the top of the order is nonetheless an attention-grabber. Upton, 33 and a veteran of 15 big-league seasons, had never spent a single game in the leadoff spot until Maddon put him there May 23 in an effort to shake the slugger out of his slump. It’s a move he said he’s made throughout his career with a power hitter, most notably with the Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo. The idea, Maddon said, is to get the player to focus less on power and run production and more on just being a good hitter. Except in Upton’s case, it worked too well. It worked so well that Maddon now doesn’t want to move Upton back to the middle of the order. “He is enjoying it,” Maddon said. “It’s obvious. The other players feel it. The coaches feel it. I want to believe the fans feel it. What he’s done is maybe one of the biggest reasons why we’ve ascended like we have.” To Maddon, it’s no coincidence that the day he moved Upton marked what is currently the low-water point for Upton and the Angels. The Angels were 19-27 and Upton was hitting .188 with a .661 OPS on the Sunday morning when the surprising lineup card was posted with Upton’s name at the top. In his 1,778th big-league game, he was hitting leadoff for the first time. Since then, the Angels are 17-9, having climbed back to .500. Upton is hitting .333 with a 1.013 OPS as a leadoff hitter. (He also returned to the No. 4 spot for one game since then.) “I feel pretty good up there,” Upton said. “I am seeing the ball better and getting better swings off.” Upton said he has enjoyed hitting leadoff, but he has never gone so far as to say that the change in spots in the batting order is the reason that he’s hit so well. He said he’s done the same things in preparation all of this year, as well as in his two disappointing seasons prior to this one. “The last couple years, it just wasn’t there,” said Upton, who was battling injuries throughout 2019. “I did the same things I do in the cage, grinding and trying to be productive. It just didn’t happen. The end of last year was pretty good. The start of this year was bad. I’m seeing the ball pretty good now. It is what it is.” It’s certainly possible that he’s just been enjoying the hot streak he was due to have no matter what, and it’s a coincidence that it started right after he moved to the top of the order. His OPS is now .823, which is just above his career OPS of .820. Aside from more hits falling for Upton since he’s gone to the leadoff spot, his walk rate has increased significantly. Upton walked in 9.7% of his plate appearances before moving in the lineup, and 14.5% since. “I’m in better positions mechanically,” Upton said. “We talk a lot about controlling the zone and hitting balls in the big part of the plate. It’s been going that way. I’ve been able to lay off the bad ones and really wait on my pitch, and it’s working out for me.” Whether the lineup switch is the cause of his improvement or it’s all a coincidence, Maddon is determined not to mess with it. He’s been asked repeatedly over the past few weeks if he plans to put Upton back in the middle of the lineup now that he’s hitting. Maddon concedes that “conventionally” that makes sense, particularly since former leadoff hitter David Fletcher is also now doing better. But then Maddon describes a lineup with a sizzling Upton in front of Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh and Max Stassi, and he’s content to keep him at the top. Related Articles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani maintains sizable lead in All-Star voting at DH Angels get another Shohei Ohtani homer but lose in 10 innings Angels’ David Fletcher heating up but staying in the No. 9 spot Angels’ Patrick Sandoval makes his case for rotation spot in victory over Tigers Angels’ Phil Gosselin is among the graduating class of ’21 “If you wanted to speak in theoretical terms before the season begins, you would think that (Upton is best in the middle),” Maddon said. “But in reality, it’s turned out this way seems to be our best method right now. I’m in no hurry to get J-Up out of the leadoff spot.” UP NEXT Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney, 4-4, 4.45 ERA) vs. Giants (RHP Anthony DeSclafani, 7-2, 3.01), 6:38 p.m. Tuesday, Bally Sports West, 830 AM View the full article
  9. ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani continues speeding toward a spot in the starting lineup for next month’s All-Star Game. Ohtani is still leading in the voting among designated hitters, with more than double the votes of Boston’s J.D. Martinez, in a second round of results released by Major League Baseball on Monday morning. Fan voting continues through 1 p.m. PT Thursday. Next Monday will mark the start of a four-day run-off election among the top three vote-getters to determine the starters. Mike Trout also could be elected, although he’s not expected to be back from his calf injury in time for the July 13 game at Denver’s Coors Field. Trout is currently leading the voting among the outfielders. Jared Walsh is fourth among first baseman, just over 70,000 votes behind No. 3 José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox. Regardless of whether Walsh cracks the top three, it would be tough for any first baseman to beat out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the starting spot in the run-off, so Walsh’s best chance is in the player voting for the backups. Ohtani is also listed as a pitcher on the player ballots, which will be filled out starting Wednesday. Related Articles Angels get another Shohei Ohtani homer but lose in 10 innings Angels’ David Fletcher heating up but staying in the No. 9 spot Angels’ Patrick Sandoval makes his case for rotation spot in victory over Tigers Angels’ Phil Gosselin is among the graduating class of ’21 Shohei Ohtani homers twice in Angels’ rout of Tigers Regardless of whether Ohtani is elected as a pitcher or not, if he’s on the team as a DH, he still could pitch in the game, provided he and the Angels are OK with the extra work. Ohtani is committed to participate in the Home Run Derby the day before the All-Star Game, so he will have a busy week already when most major leaguers are enjoying four days off. View the full article
  10. ANAHEIM — The latest blast in the Shohei Ohtani Homer Barrage wasn’t enough to get the Angels their sweep. Ohtani hit his sixth homer in six games on Sunday afternoon, but the Angels still lost, 5-3, to the Detroit Tigers in 10 innings, missing their shot to win all four games in the series. Ohtani is tied for the major league lead with 23 homers. That also set a new career-high for Ohtani, who hit 22 in his rookie season in 2018. Ohtani had tied the score in the fifth with a two-run homer, but the Angels were never able to crack the Tigers’ bullpen to take the lead. Closer Raisel Iglesias worked a perfect ninth and then he took the mound again in the 10th, with the automatic runner at second. Miguel Cabrera hit a bouncer to the right of the mount and Iglesias tried to field it, rather than letting third baseman Anthony Rendon make the play. It ticked off Iglesias’ glove for an infield single. After a walk loaded the bases, Iglesias gave up a two-run single to Daz Cameron. Steve Cishek eventually struck out two to escape the inning with no further damage. In the bottom of the inning, David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo struck out before Ohtani could get to the plate with a chance to tie the score. Ohtani walked on four pitches and then Taylor Ward struck out, ending the 4-hour, 3-minute marathon. By the time it was over, the performance of Angels starting pitcher Dylan Bundy was a distant memory. Bundy brought a 6.98 ERA and significant questions about his job security into the game, and he showed some encouraging signs. Bundy was charged with one earned run in four-plus innings, and that scored after he was out of the game. He still walked three and gave up four hits, requiring 81 pitches to get 12 outs. The Angels bailed him out with two double plays. In the second inning, second baseman David Fletcher and shortstop José Iglesias collaborated on a double play that saw both players spin 360 degrees as they released throws. Bundy was pulled after allowing a leadoff double in the fifth, and that runner was one of two that scored later in the inning on a single against Chris Rodriguez. More to come on this story. View the full article
  11. Hello James Sanchez,

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  12. ANAHEIM — With Justin Upton getting the day off on Sunday, Joe Maddon had the opportunity to put David Fletcher back in the leadoff spot where he’d performed so well in previous seasons. Maddon, however, didn’t want to move him. “I did think about it, but I don’t want to mess with his mojo right now,” Maddon said. “It’s been fabulous. There’s been a lot of action at the bottom and he’s really taken care of it well.” Fletcher was moved to the No. 9 spot when he was in a slump last month, but he has hit .362 with an .847 OPS over the 20 games leading into Sunday. “I feel like probably the last week or so my swing has been right,” said Fletcher, who was 12 for 21 over the six games prior to Sunday. “I didn’t want to mess with Fletch,” Maddon said. “He’s been going so well. It’s No. 9, but so many things are happening. He’s setting up the top guys on getting on in front of him. There’s still a lot of work to be done down there.” PITCHING PLANS The Angels flip-flopped Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning in the rotation, with Ohtani scheduled to start on Wednesday afternoon at home against the San Francisco Giants. Maddon said they just wanted to get Ohtani back on the mound sooner, rather than having him wait until at least Friday – after Thursday’s off day. It also means that Ohtani would be in line to make his first career start at Yankee Stadium. Ohtani was scheduled to start in Yankee Stadium in 2018, but the Angels scratched him just before the series to give him some extra time off. Ohtani was injured a couple of weeks later, resulting in Tommy John surgery. Luis Rengifo got his second straight start in right field on Sunday, after making two difficult catches on Saturday night. He also made some nice plays in the infield earlier in the week. Related Articles Angels’ Patrick Sandoval makes his case for rotation spot in victory over Tigers Angels’ Phil Gosselin is among the graduating class of ’21 Shohei Ohtani homers twice in Angels’ rout of Tigers Angels’ Shohei Ohtani to compete in Home Run Derby Shohei Ohtani, Taylor Ward power Angels to victory on ‘Reopening Day’ All of it has made a good impression on Maddon, who has consistently had high expectations for the type of player that Rengifo could eventually become. “The skill level has always been really good,” Maddon said. “I just think his focus overall has been first-rate. There’s just little things we’ve always talked about. Little mental mistakes that we wanted to see eradicated. Now he hasn’t been here that long, but so far so good.” CHECKING ON DETMERS Reid Detmers, one of the Angels’ top pitching prospects worked an immaculate inning (three strikeouts in a nine-pitch inning) at Double-A on Sunday. It’s a rare accomplishment. No Angels pitcher has done it in the majors since Garrett Richards in 2014. Detmers struck out 14 and gave up three hits in six innings. He has a 3.34 ERA this season, with 60 strikeouts in 35 innings. UP NEXT Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney, 4-4, 4.45 ERA) vs. Giants (RHP Anthony DeSclafani, 7-2, 3.01), Tuesday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM View the full article
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