The Los Angeles Angels are off to a slow start, but some reinforcements are coming soon to help right the ship.
A strong series in Oakland to start the season would have gone a long way for the Los Angeles Angels, giving them momentum in a season shortened by the coronavirus pandemic. However, things don’t always work out as intended, and the Angels came away from their series with Athletics occupying last place in the AL West.
That isn’t to say that there were not good takeaways in the first series of the season. The starting pitching got strong performances from Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heaney, an excellent relief appearance from Matt Andriese, and even encouraging signs from Griffin Canning. And let’s not discount the performance of David Fletcher this weekend.
In this sprint of a season, losses add up quickly and the Angels find themselves behind the eight-ball already. To add injury to insult, the Halos also lost starting shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a rolled ankle late in Monday’s contest.
But four games do not make a season and the Angels will continue to battle, starting with a series at home against the Seattle Mariners. The good news for the Halos is that they can expect some reinforcements to get the momentum rolling in the right direction.
Anthony Rendon could make season debut for Angels on Tuesday
Since signing a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Angels this past winter, there has been some incredible anticipation for Anthony Rendon‘s debut with the Halos. Expected to slot into the batting order directly behind Mike Trout, Rendon’s presence is exactly what the team has been missing to date.
Entering play on Tuesday, the Angels sit 18th in baseball with a team batting average of .225. They also rank 25th in wRC+ (65), 26th in WPA (-0.68), and 25th in wOBA (.265). Those struggles have been most present with runners on base, where the team has stranded an average of 15.5 runners per game in 2020, placing them 23rd in baseball.
Rendon’s presence in the lineup will certainly change that, and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time for the Angels. He’s a career .304/.383/.523 hitter with runners on base. He takes that up a notch with runners in scoring position, where he slashes .311/.394/.553.
But Rendon’s return has more value than simply aiding the team in scoring runs after struggling in that department. With Mike Trout’s paternity leave looming, it is important for the Halos to get Rendon back and in a groove for when Trout is unavailable to the team around August 3rd.
As things stand right now, Rendon is slated to return to the Angels on Tuesday, barring any setbacks with his oblique strain. At worst Joe Maddon has said he’ll be available on Wednesday, as reported by Rhett Bolinger of MLB.com.
Julio Teheran to make a rehab start before potentially joining Angels rotation
Anthony Rendon isn’t the only Angels’ offseason signing that is close to making his team debut. Right-hander Julio Teheran could also be nearing his return to the team.
Slowed by a positive coronavirus diagnosis during the shutdown, Teheran only recently rejoined the team in summer camp. However, as he was unable to make any starts before the season began, he was forced to remain with the team’s secondary camp in order to ramp his arm up for the season.
According to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Teheran is slated to throw three innings or 55 pitches, whichever comes first, in a camp outing in Long Beach on Tuesday. If all goes well, he could make his season debut with the team when his next turn would come up.
The Angels have gotten six innings out of just one starter thus far through the first four games. Teheran meanwhile has averaged exactly six innings per start over his last seven seasons, all with the Atlanta Braves. While he may not go that distance in his first official start, the expectation is that Teheran will serve as a true innings eater for an Angels team that has sorely missed that in the past several seasons.
David Fletcher Watch: Angels infielder is on fire
A little bonus here for Angels fans. Team sparkplug David Fletcher has not disappointed to start the season. Here’s his official batting line to start the season:
Games – 4
Plate Appearances – 18
Hits – 8
Batting Average – .533
On-Base – .556
OPS – 1.222
Needless to say, Fletcher is off to a hot start, and Angels fans are all for it. Here’s to hoping he keeps it up!