Wed, 12 May 2021

Angels return to field against Rangers after unplanned days off

Field Level Media
19 Apr 2021, 21:55 GMT+10

The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers will begin a three-game series in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday night, with the Angels coming in well-rested after having had two weekend games postponed because of issues related to COVID-19 with the Minnesota Twins.

Pitchers Jose Quintana (Saturday) and Alex Cobb (Sunday) were scheduled to starts for Los Angeles on those days, but instead will be skipped in the rotation. Angels manager Joe Maddon has decided to pitch right-hander Dylan Bundy on Monday.

Bundy (0-1, 3.32 ERA) has been the Angels' best starter this season, even though he is still looking for his first victory. He's lasted at least six innings in all three starts and has not allowed more than three runs in any of them.

Bundy has pitched well against Texas in his career, going 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA in nine games (seven starts).

Angels center fielder Mike Trout likewise has played well against the Rangers, batting .325 with 38 homers, 109 RBIs and a 1.066 OPS in 160 career games against them.

He enters the series off to a good start this season, avoiding any prolonged slump. He has hit safely in all but two games and has scored at least one run in all but three. His on-base percentage (.526) is the best in the American League.

"He is a grinder in spite of being this superstar baseball player," Maddon said. "He grinds all the time. He's focused and he's ready and wants to be there in (key) moments."

Willie Calhoun is expected to be in the lineup Monday, the Rangers' outfielder back on the active roster after being out with a groin injury since early in spring training. He finally returned to the lineup Saturday as the DH against Baltimore and went 2 for 4. He was on the bench to start Sunday's game but entered as a pinch hitter and was 1 for 1 with a walk.

A focus of Calhoun's this year is to get opposing teams to re-think implementing a defensive shift against him, loading up the right side of the infield for the left-handed hitter. And on Saturday, he made inroads to achieving that as both of his hits were sprayed to the left side of the field.

"He talks about it openly. He's tired of people shifting him, so he's going to do everything he can," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "I think the biggest key for him is to just stay to the middle of the field.

"He's trying to eliminate pull-side ground balls and elevate the ball in the air to the pull side, especially on off-speed (pitches). If you can do that, he's going to hit line drives all over the field, he's going to hit balls in the gaps, he's going to hit his home runs. He's dedicated to that."

Right-hander Kohei Arihara will start on the mound for Texas, off to a good start to his major-league career after pitching six seasons in Japan. Arihara, who was a teammate of Angels pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani from 2015-17 with the Nippon Ham Fighters, is 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA in three starts.

Arihara got his first major-league win in his most recent start, shutting out the Tampa Bay Rays for 5 2/3 innings last Wednesday in the Rangers' 5-1 win.

--Field Level Media

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