LA Angels: Reserves struggle in 9-2 loss to Diamondbacks
By Alfonso Cerna
With the exception of a few, most Angels players struggled in a 9-2 loss against the Diamondbacks on Thursday at Salt River Fields.
Halos pitching allowed at least one run in the first six innings, giving up a combined four home runs to Arizona hitters.
It was a rough day for most Angels pitchers and position players, but a few reserves continue making strong cases for the Opening Day roster.
Griffin Canning started the game, striking out five and allowing two earned runs on three hits, including a solo home run to Trayce Thompson. The right-hander struck out the side in the second inning, with each hitter going down looking on curveballs.
"“They’re not seeing it very well,” Canning said. “That’s encouraging. I used to get a lot more strikeouts looking in college, but it’s encouraging for sure.”"
Reliever Felix Peña made his spring debut in Thursday’s loss, allowing two earned runs on four hits and one walk in his one inning of work. Peña gave up two home runs in the third inning.
Also making his spring debut was Angels No.10 prospect Hector Yan. The left-hander gave up two earned runs on four hits with one walk and one strikeout through two innings.
Offensively the Halos struggled as well. The starting lineup consisted mostly of players competing for reserve spots with the exception of first baseman Jared Walsh. The Angels totaled four hits through nine innings, two of which came off the bat of Juan Lagares.
Lagares is off to a great start through four games, going 4-for-7 with one walk, one RBI, three stolen bases, and zero strikeouts in eight plate appearances. The outfielder has also made a few nice defensive plays while patrolling center field. Lagares figures to be the front-runner for the reserve outfield spots on the Opening Day roster.
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Jon Jay went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, and Scott Schebler finished 0-for-1 with one strikeout in his only plate appearance. Jo Adell continued his struggles with an 0-for-2, two strikeout performance, including a misplay in right field with a routine single going through his legs.
Halos top prospect Brandon Marsh notched his first hit of the spring with a triple to right field. Marsh cramped up while rounding the bases and left the game the following inning. Angels manager Joe Maddon has no further details, though it doesn’t figure to be a huge concern.
Infielder Franklin Barreto finished the day 1-for-2 with his second double in as many games. Barreto is 2-for-4 so far this spring, making a strong case for a backup infield spot.
It wasn’t a great day for the reserve position players, who racked up 15 strikeouts combined on the day. While these games aren’t nearly exciting as seeing the team’s star players, they are equally important in determining who will make the roster.
Depth goes a long way in contending for a championship, so having enough able-bodies on the bench is a must.
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Tomorrow’s game against Oakland will showcase Shohei Ohtani making his spring debut as a pitcher. The two-way star reached triple digits in his last bullpen session and most recently hit a ball that may still be orbiting the earth.
First pitch between the Angels and Athletics on Friday is set for noon (PT) at Hohokam Park in Mesa, Arizona.