Angels Opening Day: Halos hitters miss opportunities
Only two of the Angels’ hitters went without a base knock on Friday. However, the Halos ran into a familiar foe in their loss against the A’s.
To say that the Angels failed to cash in on a few opportunities would be under-selling it.
They left a pair in scoring position in the first inning, failing to set the tone against Frankie Montas. The Angels did cash one in during the top of the 4th but ran themselves out of the inning. When Goodwin would get caught in a rundown trying to stretch it into a double, Jason Castro tried to sneak in from third but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Angels had another opportunity in the ninth. After the Castro home run tied the game, Andrelton Simmons singled, followed by a one-out walk to Goodwin. David Fletcher would then strikeout for the second time on the night and Liam Hendricks opted to intentionally walk Mike Trout to load the bases. Unfortunately, Ohtani would go down swinging on three pitches to end the threat.
That set the stage for the 10th inning. Starting the inning with Ohtani on second under the new MLB rule, the two-way star would get caught in a rundown after a hard grounder from Jared Walsh. Tommy La Stella would single to right on the next pitch. After a Pujols pop-up, Castro would walk to load the bases again, only for Simmons to ground out to end the inning.
This isn’t a new problem for the Halos. They ranked 23rd in baseball in 2019, stranding an average of 6.94 runners per game. They also ranked second to last in leaving runners in scoring position last season, doing so at a clip of 6.00 per game.
If they want to be successful in 2020, they’ll have to find a way to push runs across with runners in scoring position. That will improve drastically when Anthony Rendon returns, as he ranked 5th in baseball with a .365 average in those situations last season. Until then, the Angels will have to find a way for others to contribute.