As two-thirds of the 10-game road trip is now in the books, the Angels find themselves two games below .500 (62-64), fighting to tread water in the AL Wild Card chase. Entering play this afternoon, the Halos sit 9 games back of the second berth with only 36 regular season games remaining. The last time the Angels and Orioles faced off was back over the Fourth of July weekend as the Angels swept the O’s, including two walk-off wins at the book end of the series.
Here was the first walk-off (July 2, 8-7 Angels Win):
Here was the second walk-off (July 4, 6-5 Angels Win):
Kicking things off on the mound for the Angels will be right-hander Dylan Bundy. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native is 2-9 with a 6.04 ERA in 22 appearances (18 starts) through 89.1 innings. After a positive season in 2020, the former 2011 first round pick continues to search for a balanced approach since re-entering the starting rotation after being sent to the bullpen at the end of June. Since that four-game stretch out of the pen where he allowed three runs over five innings, he has gone 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in his four previous starts, allowing only two home runs. The long ball was his kryptonite early on this season as he surrendered a home run in nine of his first 12 games. Prior to being traded to the Angels in December of 2019, Bundy spent four consecutive seasons with the Orioles combining to go 38-45 with a 4.67 ERA in 127 games pitched.
Opposing the Halos will be fellow right-hander Spenser Watkins. The 28-year-old begins the night 2-5 with a 5.63 ERA in nine games (eight starts). After being released by the Detroit Tigers after 2020, Watkins began the season with Triple-A Norfolk Tides as a member of their starting rotation. He spun a 1-2 record and 3.58 ERA with a BAA of .205 in seven games before the call to the majors on June 30. Watkins MLB debut came at Angel Stadium on July 2 retiring all three batters he faced (Taylor Ward, Juan Lagares and David Fletcher). His August splits have not been as kind as July as he is sitting on a 8.24 ERA in four August losses, which adds on to a streak of five consecutive starts of allowing four or more earned runs.
It is evident to see the Angels offense is not rolling on all cylinders through the dog days of summer. Since the All-Star break, the Angels rank 27th in MLB in runs scored (130), which is an average of 3.5 runs per/game, while batting .228 as a team, placing them 29th in MLB just in front of last place Texas Rangers (.202). They have scored 5 or more runs in a game just nine times in 37 second-half games.
Warren Out The Opponents
During his time with the Angels since being promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake on July 28, reliever Austin Warren has single handedly been one of the best options for manager Joe Maddon to pick up the phone and turn too. In 10 appearances, the righty is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings. Warren secured his first MLB save last Thursday against the Tigers with two perfect innings in the 13-10 come-from-behind victory. To make matters even more impressive, Warren is getting ahead of batters with a first pitch strike 57.6% of the time and a whiff rate of 30%, which is above league average.
Angels News & Notes
- Yesterday, the Angels released OF Adam Eaton after they DFA’d him on August 15. In 25 games, he batted .200 with one home run and two runs batted in
- Mike Trout still has no timetable for return, but Joe Maddon said he is recovering better from workouts lately
- Justin Upton was originally scheduled in the lineup today, but a nagging calf issue forced him into an off day