After Slow Start, Angels’ Rendon Begins to Heat Upby B.J. Martin August 17, 2020 1 comment
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon had anything but the ideal first two weeks of his first season with his new ball club. Missing the opening series of the season against Oakland with oblique tightness, Rendon struggled to find a rhythm after homering in his Angels debut against Seattle, fighting his way through his first 12 games while hitting only .103 across 55 plate appearances.
That all changed when the Angels arrived home from Texas on Monday evening. Rendon turned things around in a resounding fashion, hitting home runs in four straight games and becoming the first Angels infielder since Rex Hudler in 1996 and the club’s first third baseman since Jack Howell in 1987 to accomplish that feat. Rendon hit .348 with five home runs, seven runs scored, seven RBI, and seven walks across six games played in the homestand through Sunday.
Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Angels this past December and clearly expected to be protected in a powerful Angels lineup between Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Rendon’s homestand this week will make him a strong candidate for AL Player of the Week. More important, his week at the plate is a great sign for a club counting on his production in the middle of their lineup down the stretch.
Rendon finished third in last season’s National League Most Valuable Player voting after leading the league with 44 doubles and 126 runs batted in while hitting 34 home runs for the World Series champion Washington Nationals. His contract in Anaheim provides the Angels with a combination of Rendon, Mike Trout, and Jo Adell in their lineup for the next six seasons and solidifies the core of what the Angels hope will be a championship-caliber team for the decade.
Angels This Week
Los Angeles began last week with a successful series against Oakland to begin their current homestand. The Angels came alive for eight home runs in the first two games to defeat the Athletics, who were coming off a nine-game winning streak. The Angels lost the Wednesday matinee but still won the series, 2-1, against the first-place Oakland squad.
The Angels were swept at home during their weekend Freeway Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It began Friday with a loss against Clayton Kershaw, 7-4, thanks in large part to a pair of two-run home runs by reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger. Saturday’s Angels starter Andrew Heaney outdueled Dodgers All-Star Walker Buehler before the bullpen surrendered the lead and lost in 10 innings. The Dodger offense wrapped up the sweep on Sunday by slugging their way to victory against a struggling Julio Teheran.
The Angels will face the San Francisco Giants in Anaheim on Monday and Tuesday before moving the series to Oracle Park for two more on Wednesday and Thursday. The Angels will then drive across the bay and meet the Athletics once again for a weekend series. Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning should pitch the first two games in Anaheim before giving the ball to Patrick Sandoval and Andrew Heaney for the games in San Francisco. Expect Teheran, Bundy, and Canning to toe the rubber for the three games in Oakland.
Andrelton Simmons has been recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the final game of the opening series on July 27 in Oakland. The shortstop twisted his ankle hustling down the first base line to beat out a ninth-inning single and has been on the Injured List since. Simmons began practicing with the alternate site squad at Blair Field last week and joined the Angels for pre-game infield practice at Angel Stadium this weekend. Super-utility star David Fletcher has been starting at the position since Simmons’s injury and his imminent return will likely shuffle the lineup. Expect Fletcher to share time with Tommy La Stella at second base as well as left field and other infield positions.
Right-handed pitcher Taylor Cole underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Thursday afternoon. The 30-year-old pitcher was designated for assignment by the Angels this past spring and accepted an assignment to Salt Lake. Cole was named to the Angels’ 60-man player pool in July and did not factor into any games for the Los Angeles Angels prior to going under the knife. Cole was 7-6 with a 4.62 ERA during his 56 games (eight starts) with the Angels in 2018 and 2019. His most memorable outing came on July 19, 2019, when he tossed a combined no-hitter with Felix Pena on the evening the Angels were honoring the late Tyler Skaggs. Cole started the no-hitter with two perfect innings against the Seattle Mariners in Anaheim on that historic night.
Jose Rodriguez cleared waivers and was assigned successfully to the Angels’ alternate training site on Friday. The 24-year-old Rodriguez made his Major League Baseball debut with the Angels last season but has appeared only in one game (Aug. 2 against the Astros) this season, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings.
The Angels optioned left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter to the club’s alternate site and recalled catcher Anthony Bemboom from the site. Catcher Jason Castro is dealing with a sore neck, so Bemboom will provide depth at the position while Castro is day-to-day. The 30-year-old Bemboom was a veteran minor league catcher before making his major league debut last season. He finished the season hitting .130 in 25 MLB games. Buchter had appeared in nine games out of the Angels’ bullpen this year, resulting in a 5.40 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. Buchter’s demotion leaves the Angels currently with Hoby Milner as the lone left-handed pitcher in the bullpen.
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