Los Angeles Angels Probable Pitchers & Starting Lineup vs. Kansas City Royals, April 21
Probable starting pitchers
Shohei Ohtani takes the ball for the opener of this three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels back at home. Ohtani pitched just two innings his last time out in Boston as his start was shortened due to rain. The Angels pushed him up a couple of days to pitch tonight. Ohtani has made two starts against the Royals in his career and has allowed one run in 12 innings of work with 17 strikeouts. Expect another masterpiece tonight.
The Royals will counter with an opener, Taylor Clarke. The right-hander has made seven appearances this season and has allowed seven runs (six earned) on 13 hits in eight innings of work exclusively in relief. Clarke has not gone more than two innings and has not thrown more than 36 pitches in an outing this season. Ryan Yarbrough is going to be the bulk arm used tonight.
Los Angeles Angels starting lineup
1. Taylor Ward - LF
2. Shohei Ohtani - P
3. Anthony Rendon - 3B
4. Hunter Renfroe - RF
5. Brandon Drury - 2B
6. Gio Urshela - 1B
7. Luis Rengifo - CF
8. Zach Neto - SS
9. Chad Wallach - C
Mike Trout gets the night off to begin this series, something that shouldn't be too shocking with the Angels having a large stretch of games without a day off. Luis Rengifo fills in for him in center field which is definitely a shock. Rengifo has looked shaky at best in his appearances in the outfield both in Spring Training and in the regular season. I assume Rengifo is in there over Brett Phillips because Ryan Yarbrough, the pitcher expected to see most of the work tonight for Kansas City, is left-handed. If the Angels have a lead late, expect Phillips to appear in center field.
Kansas City Royals starting lineup
1. Bobby Witt Jr. - SS
2. M.J. Melendez - RF
3. Vinnie Pasquantino - 1B
4. Salvador Perez - C
5. Michael Massey - 2B
6. Kyle Isbel - CF
7. Edward Olivares - DH
8. Nicky Lopez - 3B
9. Jackie Bradley Jr. - LF
Which LA Angels player needs to bounce back in today's game?
Until Taylor Ward gets going, it's going to continue to be him. Ward has three hits in his last 31 at-bats in the last eight games he's appeared in, and has seen his batting average plummet from .311 to .224 in that span. If he's going to continue to lead off, the Angels need him to be Taylor Ward.
Which LA Angels player will be the X-factor in today's game?
I'm curious to see the impact Chad Wallach will have on tonight's game both offensively and defensively. He's not known for his bat but was slashing .361/.442/.556 with two home runs and eight RBI in 11 games in AAA before the call-up. I'm also curious to see how he does catching Shohei Ohtani. He caught him twice last season and Ohtani allowed three runs in 12 innings of work. If he can come up with a big hit that'd be huge, and if he does a good job behind the plate that'll also be great.