It’s been 166 days since the last Angels game (October 3 @ Seattle) and having baseball return to Arizona for Spring Training could not feel anymore perfect. With the assortment of moves made in the bullpen of the past few days, much anticipation has gone into this Angels team and what to expect during this 20-game Spring Training schedule.
Kicking things off at Hohokam Stadium against the new look Oakland A’s (who have traded away Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Chris Bassitt over the past week) was newly acquired right-hander Michael Lorenzen. However, before the former Cal State Fullerton Titan could take the field, it was Jo Adell who greeted the Mesa, AZ crowd with a behemoth blast off A’s starter Brent Honeywell Jr. The two-run home run with pure sound off the bat flew just left of the batter’s eye towards the “Hohokam” sign where fans were residing to watch the game.
With a 2-0 lead, Adell tacked on another RBI hit in the third inning, scoring Brandon Marsh (1-2, R) from third base on a one-out single. The former first round pick completed the day after playing four innings in right field and going 2-for-3 with a Home Run, 3 RBI and a run scored at the plate.
Lorenzen’s debut in an Angels uniform went swimmingly as well, coasting through two innings with two strikeouts and delivering 22 pitches. His fastball velocity stood between 92-96 MPH and his mechanics proved to be very fluid and clean. It was noted that the plan was to stretch him out until the third inning, but manager Joe Maddon decided against that idea since it was still early in spring.
Other notable developments from the game this afternoon was the shortstop competition. Tyler Wade picked up the start with Luis Rengifo at second base and Jack Mayfield at third. All three recorded at least one hit, with the exception of Mayfield who had two, while Wade flashed his speed around the basepath by stealing second in the first inning. Andrew Velazquez checked into the game in relief of Wade in the fourth inning and wasted no time slashing a line drive two-run double, which at the time increased the Halos lead to 5-0. Velazquez played the rest of the game at shortstop going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Another infield vying to get recognized is fan favorite Michael Stefanic. The standout utility infielder with Triple-A Salt Lake last season went 1-for-1 with a walk, with the lone hit being an RBI double in the sixth inning that added to the Angels lead 7-4.
Unfortunately in recent Angels fashion, a late game lead would be tossed to the wayside as the A’s rallied for runs in their final five innings at the plate. The biggest gut punch happened in the bottom of the eighth, courtesy of a three-run home run by Skye Bolt to give Oakland a 10-8 lead, which would inevitably be the final score.
2-0 LAA (T1) - Jo Adell 2-Run HR
3-0 LAA (T3) - Jo Adel RBI Single
5-0 LAA (T4) - Andrew Velazquez 2-Run Double
5-1 LAA (B4) - Sean Murphy RBI Double
5-3 LAA (B4) - Chad Pinder 2-Run Double
6-3 LAA (T5) - Chad Wallach Solo HR
6-4 LAA (B5) - Christian Bethancourt RBI Single
7-4 LAA (T6) - Michael Stefanic 2-Run Double
8-4 LAA (T6) - Kean Wong Sac-Fly
8-5 LAA (B6) - Jonah Bride Sac-Fly
8-6 LAA (B7) - Christian Bethancourt RBI Single
8-7 LAA (B7) - Wild Pitch (Buddy Reed scores)
10-8 OAK (B8) - Skye Bolt 3-Run HR
Plenty of positives came out of this first game through the eyes of Maddon, who made it known during the postgame show:
The Angels continue Cactus League action tomorrow afternoon in their home opener at Tempe Diablo Stadium against the Arizona Diamondbacks. RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon will get the starting nod as the Angels will trot out a more “normal” looking lineup that will feature Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh and Justin Upton, amongst others. Game time will be at 1:10pm PT on Bally Sports West.
NEWS & NOTES
- Maddon confirmed Shohei Ohtani will pitch Monday (3/21) against the Kansas City Royals
- Angels officially announced the signing of RHP Archie Bradley to a 1-year deal