An ideal Angels starting lineup against left-handed pitchers

Sep 21, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman Luis Rengifo (2) in action
Sep 21, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman Luis Rengifo (2) in action / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Angels face a lefty, Jared Walsh will move from first base to the bench. He could be used later in the game as a pinch hitter against a righty, but Walsh should see very limited at-bats against southpaws.

A large portion of the Angels lineup will remain the same no matter who the pitcher is. Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon should be the top four. The rest of it can use some adjusting. Here's how I'd do it.

1) Taylor Ward - LF
2) Mike Trout - CF
3) Shohei Ohtani - DH
4) Anthony Rendon - 3B
5) Brandon Drury - 1B
6) Hunter Renfroe - RF
7) Luis Rengifo - 2B
8) Logan O'Hoppe - C
9) David Fletcher - SS

Why this should be the Angels starting lineup versus a left-handed starter

Against righties, I'd have Brandon Drury hitting seventh, but he should be higher against lefties. The veteran infielder slashed .299/.329/.626 with 12 home runs in just 155 plate appearances against lefties. That's a .955 OPS, just 10 points lower than Ohtani's mark in his MVP year when he hit 46 home runs.

The big change in the lineup is the removal of Jared Walsh and the insertion of Luis Rengifo. In my lineup against RHP, I have Durry at second base and Walsh at first. I move Drury to first against southpaws and plug in Rengifo.

Inserting Rengifo over Gio Urshela might be a surprise, but after the season he just had against southpaws he should be playing every chance he gets against them until proven otherwise. He slashed .315/.339/.570 with 11 home runs in 172 plate appearances. Rengifo's .909 OPS against lefties was an elite figure, and one the Angels hope he can repeat in 2023.

Urshela is definitely a better hitter than David Fletcher, but the numbers against lefties aren't too far off. Urshela has a career .764 OPS against lefties while Fletcher sits at .742. The reason I have Urshela on the bench is because of the defense.

Urshela's fit is a little bit weird on this team because of his inability to play shortstop. He's played 18 complete games there and is just not a shortstop. Fletcher isn't really either, but he has far more experience and is a better defender. They don't lose much with the bat and gain more than they lose with the glove.

How would you set the lineup against lefties? Would Gio be involved?

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