The Angels are back in action after having the day off on Monday, as they open up a three-game series against the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox. This is the first time they’ve played the White Sox since the very first series of the season, and they send Packy Naughton to the mound looking to replicate the success that they had against Chicago all those months back when they took three of four games against them.
Naughton is certainly riding some momentum coming into this start, as his last outing against the Padres a week ago was the finest of his very young career. During that start, he finished five scoreless innings on just 72 pitches, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out five batters. Naughton has been thrust into the rotation in an audition of sorts due to the numerous pitching injuries the club has suffered, and so far, he has made a very nice first impression.
Final line on Packy Naughton:— Halos Heaven (@halosheaven) September 8, 2021
Very nice outing for Packy in just his 2nd career start. He’s had a pretty solid start to his big league career
Naughton’s opposition on the mound will be stiff once again (he faced Gerrit Cole in his first career start and Blake Snell in his second), however, as the White Sox will be countering him with Lucas Giolito, who is returning from a stint on the injured list. Giolito has had another strong season on the mound in 2021, and he had started to round back into especially good form before going down on August 31 with a hamstring strain. In his last five starts prior to the injury, Giolito had pitched to a 2.42 ERA in 29.1 innings while striking out 35 and walking just eight.
The Angels were the team that Giolito went up against on that Opening Day start, and his results in that one were pretty solid. He gave up two earned runs in that game in 5.1 innings, striking out eight Halo hitters and walking two. The lineup that he will be facing tonight is very different from the one he went up against back then, though, with Shohei Ohtani, David Fletcher and Max Stassi being the only holdovers from then until now. Those three combined to go just 1-7 with four strikeouts against Giolito in that game, but Stassi did manage to hit a solo home run off of him in what was the Halos’ first longball of the year.
Angels News and Notes
- How the rest of the rotation would line up after Naughton in this series was up in the air, but we got some clarity regarding that today. According to Joe Maddon, Janson Junk will make his second career big league start on Wednesday, and the hope is that Alex Cobb will be activated off of the injured list to follow him on Thursday. Cobb last pitched on July 23 against the Twins, but a blister issue and then a bout with right wrist inflammation put him on the shelf a week later. He had been enjoying a stellar month of July before the injuries, pitching to a 1.09 ERA in four starts. Junk last started on September 5 when he gave up five runs in 3.2 innings, although a costly error led to only one of those being earned.
- We also got some clarity on the players absent due to COVID issues before Tuesday’s game. According to Maddon, Austin Warren and Jose Marte are expected to return this weekend, with Reid Detmers expected to join them the weekend after. Warren had done some excellent work out of the bullpen prior to going on the COVID list on August 25, pitching to a 1.80 ERA in 11 largely high-leverage appearances. Marte only pitched in one game for the Angels before going on the IL, striking out four batters in two innings during his major-league debut on August 20. As for Detmers, he might not be fully stretched out as a starter again by the time he gets back, but he may be able to give a few innings at a time during the last few games of the season.
- Tuesday’s game marks the second in a row out of the lineup for Jo Adell, who is still sore after colliding with the wall in left field during Saturday’s game against the Astros. Maddon said that he hopes Adell will be available at some point tonight and doesn’t think he will need an IL stint, but he also said that he doesn’t know when he will be able to start again just yet.
- In the final piece of news from today, Maddon said that Shohei Ohtani’s next start on the mound is pencilled in for Friday against the Athletics. Ohtani’s last outing came last Friday against the Astros, where he was roughed up to the tune of six earned runs allowed in 3.1 innings pitched. He currently sits at a 3.36 ERA on the season in 21 starts.
- We may get an interesting hitter-pitcher matchup in this game, as the Halos are facing old friend Brian Goodwin for the first time since moving him at the trade deadline last season. One of the players that they got in return for Goodwin? Packy Naughton, the starter for today.