Los Angeles Angels Opening Day takes place on Thursday, March 30, 2023. The Angels once again open on the road in Oakland to face what will likely be a putrid Oakland Athletics team.
While Opening Day is way more fun at The Big A, it's always amazing whereever it is. Even if that place is a broken down Collesium in Oakland. We'll all be locked in for first pitch with Shohei Ohtani on the mound. Every fan wants to see a win, but what else do Angels fans want to see?
1) LA Angels fans hope to see double-digit strikeouts from Shohei Ohtani
Arguably the best pitcher in the American League? Against this Oakland lineup? Shohei Ohtani should pitch extremely well today. He recorded double-digit strikeouts 10 times last season including once against these Athletics. He led the league in K/9. Let's hope he gives the Angels six strong with another one of those big strikeout games.
2) LA Angels fans hope to see Mike Trout go deep
Mike Trout has 41 home runs in his career against the Athletics. Can he set the tone and hit one out tonight? Would be a great way to start what we hope will be a very successful season and potentially Mike Trout MVP push.
3) LA Angels fans hope Anthony Rendon comes through with a clutch moment
Anthony Rendon should have runners on base all day with Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani hitting in front of him. Coming off of a monster spring, Anthony Rendon should come up with a big moment late in the game.
4) LA Angels fans hope Taylor Ward is an on-base machine
Taylor Ward should have a monster 2023 season. He was on pace to make his first all-star appearance before the injury occurred which derailed his season. Even with his three-month slump Ward had a .360 OBP! He should see a ton of pitches to hit hitting in front of Trout and Ohtani, and if pitchers for some reason aren't throwing strikes, there's no reason to believe the disciplined Ward would chase. Let's hope he gets on base a couple of times.
5) LA Angels fans hope to see a clean effort from the bullpen
My biggest concern for this team heading into Opening Day is the bullpen. Newcomers Carlos Estevez and Matt Moore were shaky this spring, as were guys like Jose Quijada and Jaime Barria. Once Ohtani departs, hopefully with a lead, we can only hope the bullpen steps up and finishes the game out without too much stress.
6) LA Angels fans hope the bottom of the order produces
We know players like Ward, Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon will likely do something tonight. What about the rest of the team? The Angels hope that players like Brandon Drury, Hunter Renfroe, Gio Urshela, and Luis Rengifo can do something. They don't have to be all-stars, but be the run-producers and table setters they've always been. Take the pressure off of the big guns once in a while. Today would be a great time to start.
7) LA Angels fans hope Gio Urshela can handle shortstop
Gio Urshela has been named the starting shortstop for now, and that does cause a bit of concern. We all know Urshela's bat is just fine, as is his glove at third base, but shortstop is a position he's less familiar with. He's started 33 games at the position and played 18 complete games there in his career. Seeing Urshela make the routine plays is really all we can ask for.
8) LA Angels fans hope Logan O'Hoppe looks good at the plate
I'm not even asking for a hit. Just don't look overmatched. I have all of the confidence in the world in Logan O'Hoppe being MLB-ready, but only five games of experience is a bit concerning. Hopefully he has a hard-hit ball or doesn't strike out four times. Just look more competent offensively than Max Stassi did last season.
9) LA Angels fans hope to see the team exploit the new rules
Hopefully we see no violations on the Angels for their pitchers or hitters taking too long to get ready. What we do want to see is players ready to swipe bases with the bigger bags or watch someone like Shohei Ohtani hit without the major shift put on against him.
10) LA Angels fans hope to see what looks like a postseason-caliber ball club
In all honesty, this is a game postseason-caliber ball clubs win. Shohei Ohtani on the mound against a putrid Athletics team. I don't care that it's on the road, win the game. Don't make any unforced errors, don't allow the bullpen to implode. Results aren't everything on Opening Day, but with the Angels looking to prove themselves as serious postseaason contenders, a win tonight would go a long way.