Luis Rengifo's costly error against Reds should finally sound the alarm for Angels

The Angels have a problem at second base.
Los Angeles Angels infielder Luis Rengifo
Los Angeles Angels infielder Luis Rengifo / Jeff Dean/GettyImages
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Well, it happened again. Luis Regifo's defense came back to bite the Los Angeles Angels in a big way on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. With Angels pitcher José Soriano cruising in a scoreless ball game, Rengifo's sixth-inning blunder opened the floodgates for a barrage of Reds' runs that would ultimately be the Halos undoing, leading to their fourth straight loss.

Soriano had kept the Reds' bats in check all afternoon. After striking out Will Benson, Rengifo missed an opportunity in the bottom of the sixth inning that would have kept Soriano's no-hitter alive. Instead, the Angels' second baseman was unable to make the play and Elly De La Cruz reached safely.

But that wasn't the defensive miscue. Even if Rengifo would have secured that ball (that was eventually snagged by fellow infielder Zach Neto), it's unlikely he would've thrown out the speedy De La Cruz. But two batters later Rengifo's error cost the Angels the lead, and ultimately the game.

Luis Rengifo's costly error against Reds should finally sound the alarm for LA Angels

After a lineout, Soriano was one out away from escaping the inning unscathed. But Reds' outfielder Nick Martini chopped a ball toward second base, Rengifo bobbled it and allowed both runners to reach safely. A two-RBI double, followed by an RBI triple, put a three-spot on the board for the Reds and the Halos' bats never scratched across a run. The box score will show that Soriano allowed three runs, but they were all unearned.

This is nothing new for the Angels. Rengifo's defense has been called into question before. Last season, Rengifo was one of the Angels worst defenders. According to Fielding Bible, the Angels' infielder was worth -8 defensive runs saved (DRS). Only Logan O'Hoppe (-9 DRS) was worse.

Rengifo's bat has been solid, but not spectacular this season. While Brandon Drury has yet to get off the schneid in 2024, the veteran infielder plays better defense at second base. Is it time for Angels' manager Ron Washington to make a move?

The Angels pitching staff is not good enough to suffer through a season where defensive lapses lead to unearned runs. For his career, Rengifo is a marginal hitter with below-average defense. How much longer can the Angels afford to allow the 27-year-old to play in the field?

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