There we go LA Angels fans! The team finally got in the win column and evened up the series against the Athletics. There were three things that caught my eye, but first…
LA Angels Quick Hits:
mistakenly cut off a throw from
to second base. The throw was on target and appeared it was going to beat the runner.
finished the game at second base and, despite having better career numbers than Fletcher, La Stella may have slightly reopened the competition at second base.
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Offense Finally Comes to Life
Down 2-0 late in the game, it seemed like the Angels were destined for an 0-2 start to the season. However, the team opened up the game with a four run eighth inning. After a very frustrating start where Halo batters were making solid contact but not getting hits, this outburst was nice to see.
With Justin Upton out for 2-3 months, the entire offense is going to have to contribute more as a whole unit. In today’s game, every hitter went up and, even if they didn’t land in the hit column, had solid at-bats and made the Oakland pitchers work for their outs.
Andrelton Simmons Is Getting On Track
This Spring Training, watching Andrelton Simmons hit was not an easy thing to do. His timing seemed to be extremely off throughout the team’s time in Tempe, and I honestly expected a slow start to the season from the defensive wizard.
However, Simmons put together a quality night on Friday. He ended up going 2-4 with two singles. He was also essential to the late rally, driving in two runs to take the lead in the eighth. Simmons said he was going to try to add muscle this offseason, but he seems to have the same physique.
Simmons hitting in the top of the lineup is not what most Angels fans want, but if he can keep producing like this, the absence of Upton will be a lot less strenuous.
The Bullpen is Good (Like Actually Really Good)
After a night that saw Cam Bedrosian and Luke Bard each throw shutout innings, Friday night brought more of the same. After Harvey threw six innings of solid baseball, Brad Ausmus turned the game over to the bullpen.
First out was Hansel Robles, who looked phenomenal in his one inning of worked. Robles struck out two batters while allowing one hit, and it was an exceptional start to his first full season as an Angel.
Ty Buttrey, acquired in the Ian Kinsler trade last season, started off what could be a breakout season with a shutout inning. He did allow two hits, leading to some tension, but ultimately showed he has the stuff to get out of tight situations. Buttrey could very well end up as the main set-up man this season.
Finally, to close the game, new arm Cody Allen made his Angels debut. Like the two relievers before him, Allen did not allow a runner to cross the plate, walking and striking out one batter apiece.
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And while he didn’t earn a save in the record books tonight, I feel confident in saying that for the first time in a long time, the Angels have a legitimate closer on their team.
The Angels go into the weekend .500, and have Felix Peña on the mound tomorrow as they look to take a 2-1 series lead up North.