Ian Kinsler to make LA Angels debut vs. Oakland

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Ian Kinsler
TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Ian Kinsler /

The LA Angels will finally have their full team healthy Friday night in Oakland as Ian Kinsler will make his debut at second base and also in the lead-off spot.

The LA Angels had already signed Shohei Ohtani and re-signed Justin Upton this Winter when Ian Kinsler became available through a trade with the Detroit Tigers.  Angels general manager jumped at the opportunity to acquire Kinsler from Detroit for two mid-level prospects.

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Getting Kinsler filled two big holes the Angels had in 2017, second base, and a lead-off hitter.  Kinsler had a strong Spring hitting close to .300 most of the Spring with a stellar OBP of .377.  Kinsler only went deep once driving in three RBIs.  Kinsler drew nine walks in 52 plate appearances.

Kinsler is coming off his worst season of his career in 2017 hitting 22 homers and driving in 52 runs, but hitting a career-low .236.  He is looking for a bounce-back season in 2018 with the Angels.

With the line-up the Angels are putting out on the field in 2018, Kinsler will have a lot of help with MVP Candidates Mike Trout and Justin Upton hitting right behind him Kinsler will see a lot of good pitches.  Albert Pujols and Zack Cozart as well as Andrelton Simmons following Trout and Upton will provide good back-up as well as Kole Calhoun.

Kinsler has been sidelined the last week with a groin injury, but with the treatment he received this week has allowed him to get back to healthy so he can lead the Angels into battle.

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Another key debut for the Angels tonight is Chris Young at the designated hitter spot.  Young is the Angels fourth outfielder and will also be the designated hitter on occasion.  Young is an above average defender in the outfield and has good power, but has never hit for a high average.

The other season debut for the Angels tonight which also carries some major importance to the team’s success is lefty Tyler Skaggs who will make his debut on the mound.  Skaggs has only pitched in 26 games over the past three seasons due to injuries including having Tommy John Surgery in 2014.

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Skaggs missed three months in 2017 with a strained right oblique muscle.  Skaggs had a decent start going 1-1 with a 3.99 ERA in five April starts.  However, upon his return in August and September Skaggs struggled mightily going 1-5 with a 4.85 ERA.

However, Skaggs was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in four starts this Spring and giving up 11 earned runs in 11 innings with a 1.91 WHIP.  So hopefully Skaggs can right his ship and get his 2018 campaign off to a good start.

Next: Shohei Ohtani begins his debut with a bang.

So tune in tonight to Fox Sports West at 7:05 p.m. from the McAfee Coliseum in Oakland.  Let’s Go Angels!!!