It’s been an eventful weekend full of firsts for the Angels bullpen, and tonight was no exception. After Shohei Ohtani threw a career-high 117 pitches last night, José Suarez (3.67 ERA) took to the hill with hopes of securing his first career win at the Big A against the Texas Rangers, but the left handed pitcher did much more than that — pitching the game from start to finish and keeping the Rangers offense stagnant while Ohtani lit up the scoreboard with his 43rd home run of the season.
Tonight marked Suarez’s 10th start on the mound, and after dealing 9 innings, he became the first Angels starter to complete a game this season, and it only took him 100 pitches to do it.
While Suarez proved to be the star of the pitching show with the first complete game of his career, the Angels bats were alive and well as Juan Lagares and Ohtani stepped up to the plate with powerful swings. Lagares put the Halos on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 3rd with a solo home run, his 4th of the season.
Yesterday: threw 117 pitches— MLB (@MLB) September 5, 2021
Today: hit a homer 107 MPH pic.twitter.com/HIXKYGzlNk
And while Suarez continued with a steady pace of strikeouts and consistent control, Ohtani proved that despite pitching over 100 mph last night, nothing can stop the “Sho.” Facing off against Rangers pitcher Kolby Allard (5.00 ERA), Shohei “Shotime” Ohtani blasted his 43rd home run into right center field, scoring David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo to earn the Angels a 4-0 lead.
The Angels defense looked a little different tonight with a last minute decision to bench Justin Upton, placing Phil Gosselin in left field, Jack Mayfield at third base and giving Luis Rengifo his first start at shortstop since 2019.
In times where Suarez found himself in sticky situations, the Halos defense was right there to pick up the slack. The “Goose” Gosselin, who fans are used to seeing in the infield, stranded two runners on base in the 5th with a sliding catch in left field that ended the inning and kept the Rangers scoreless.
By the top of the 9th, it was clear that Suarez was going to go the distance. Aside from 1 run scored by Ranger center fielder Leody Taveras, the Halos bullpen never gave up on the young pitcher, and the defense backed him all the way, leading to a big W for the team as the inning closed out on a 4-1 victory.
Joe Maddon said in a post-game press conference that he wants to see how Suarez will progress after his first complete game.
“I wanna see his next start, I wanna see the carryover. That’s what’s gonna make him into a really good Major League starter.”
Suarez walked away from tonight’s win with his first complete game on the mound, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB and 8 Ks — an impressive performance that launched the team back to their .500 record after a rough loss to the New York Yankees last Wednesday.
Tomorrow, your Halos will take on the Rangers at 1:07 PM for a Sunday Funday full of afternoon baseball as we welcome Janson Junk (0.00 ERA) to the show for his MLB debut on the hill. A win tomorrow could break the .500 record and put the Halos back in the positive during this 4-game series against Texas.
Saturday Notes & News:
- Justin Upton was scratched from the lineup last minute. The reason for this is unknown, but Phil Gosselin started in left field, and Luis Rengifo started at shortstop for the first time since 2019.
- Before tonight, Suarez had never pitched more than 6 innings in one game.
- Janson Junk will make his MLB debut tomorrow afternoon against the Rangers.