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Halos Try to Pull Ahead in Series vs. Blue Jays

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The team sends Dylan Bundy to the mound after splitting yesterday’s doubleheader

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

After a busy day on Tuesday where they won one of two games of their doubleheader against the visiting (while also hosting) Toronto Blue Jays, the Angels are back at it again tonight looking to pull ahead in their current four-game series.

The Halos will have their work cut out for them on Wednesday, however, with the Jays sending rookie righty Alek Manoah to the mound against them. The No. 11 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Manoah has had an excellent debut campaign to date, posting a 2.58 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in his first 60 innings in the majors. Included in this hot start to his career is a bit of history as well, as the 23-year-old became the first pitcher since the turn of the 20th century to begin his career by allowing four or fewer hits in his first 10 starts in the big leagues.

Manoah comes into today’s game on an especially good run, pitching to a miniscule 1.26 ERA with 33 strikeouts in his last five starts. Simply put, he has been stellar lately, and he comes into this one facing an Angels offense that has been running cold for a bit now. Over their last 15 contests, the Halos have managed just 3.3 runs per game, a far cry from the nearly five runs per game they were scoring before that.

The combination of the Angels’ slumping bats and Manoah’s recent brilliance means that this one might need to turn into a pitcher’s duel, and the Halos will turn to Dylan Bundy in order to stymie the excellent Toronto lineup. Admittedly, this might have been a scary proposition just a few weeks ago, but Bundy has looked considerably better as of late. In his two starts since being re-inserted into the rotation on July 29, Bundy has allowed just three earned runs, including a stretch of 9.2 consecutive scoreless innings that he brings into today’s contest.

This has been a noteworthy turnaround for Bundy, and the reasoning for it may be found in a mechanical change that he has made:

In those two starts, Bundy has shortened up his arm path to a considerable degree, forgoing the very long action that he had in favor of a much more tighter release. In his words, this was done in order to greatly reduce the number of inconsistencies in his pitch-by-pitch delivery, and so far, the returns have been encouraging.

Bundy will without a doubt be tested, however, by the dangerous Blue Jays bats. Chris Rodriguez and Jose Suarez did a pretty good job of keeping them in check yesterday, but with hitters such as George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. lurking around, it may just be a matter of time before they break through.

Perhaps the most important thing for Bundy to do is limit the long ball, as Toronto has hit the second-most home runs in all of baseball this season and the Angels starter has been known to give up his fair share of dingers. If he can do that, though, it will bode well for both his success on the mound and the Angels’ chances at winning tonight’s game.

Angels News and Notes

  • Jared Walsh was activated off the 10-day injured list prior to today’s game and will be in the lineup hitting third. Packy Naughton was optioned to AAA in order to make room on the roster for him.
  • Also optioned to AAA was Chris Rodriguez, who returned to the minors after being brought up as the 27th man for yesterday’s doubleheader. It hasn’t yet been decided when his next major-league start will be.