2) LA Angels catcher Matt Thaiss needs to step up in Anthony Rendon's absence
Is it fair to put pressure on Matt Thaiss? Probably not. However, his play has earned him that respect.
Thaiss had one of the worst three-week stretches to start a season I think I have ever seen. He was hitless in his first 12 at-bats while also committing not one, but two catchers interferences in the same inning which ended up being the deciding factors in a loss at Fenway Park. Thaiss wasn't hitting and didn't look like he belonged at the plate. I thought he was done. It turns out, he was far from it.
Since April 22, Thaiss is slashing .362/.426/.489 with one home run and eight RBI. This is including a recent one hit in 12 at-bat slump. With Logan O'Hoppe done for most if not the entire season, Thaiss has taken over the reigns as the primary catcher against right-handed pitching and hasn't looked back.
Thaiss played first base and hit fifth yesterday in Baltimore. I'm curious to see if that's where he lands full-time, but I believe he'll hit fifth or sixth whenever the Angels face a righty. If he's put in the middle of the order, he simply has to produce.
Rendon wasn't hitting for power, but he was driving in runs. Thaiss also doesn't have much power, but he can make contact and drive in runs. Thaiss drove in a run and scored a run yesterday. More of that will be much-needed from a guy who's turning into a key role player on this team.