Angels Recap: Week 1

Monday 4/3: L 2-4 @ Oakland

The Angels kicked off their season in Oakland and were handed an Opening Day loss as they fell to the Athletics. Ricky Nolasco, who got the surprising Opening Day nod, battled for 5 2/3 innings against A’s starter Kendall Graveman. Nolasco was probably given too much leeway, as he generally isn’t a guy you want going through the order a 3rd time. Tied at 2 entering the 6th inning, Nolasco was beaten by the home run ball for the 2nd time, as A’s outfielder Khris Davis hit a go ahead home run, jacking a 408 foot home run to left field. Stephen Vogt also homered earlier in the game, hitting a 382 foot home run to right field that just barely cleared the fence. Khris Davis homered a 2nd time in the 8th inning, hitting a 391 foot home run to left center field. After homering 42 times in 2016, Davis carried over some of that same power to start his 2017 season.

The Angels offense revolved mainly around Mike Trout, who hit an absolute laser of a 2 run home run to give the Angels a 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning. Trout’s home run left his bat at an exit velocity of 113.4 mph at a 18.9 degree launch angle, just narrowly clearing the fence in left field. Trout also doubled later in the game and even his double play he hit into his 1st at bate was squared up. Yunel Escobar was the only other Angel to have a multi hit game and C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun both singled and walked.

Tuesday 4/4: W 7-6 @ Oakland

Danny Espinosa was acquired this past offseason mainly because of his stellar defense. He was also acquired because hit hits a lot of home runs and he did just that on Tuesday. Trailing 6-4 in the 9th inning with 2 runners on, Danny Espinosa drilled a hanging 0-2 slider from A’s reliever Ryan Dull out for a 3 run home run. Espinosa’s 400 foot home run was his first hit as an Angel and he couldn’t have picked a better time to come through.

Ryon Healy’s 1st inning home run off of Matt Shoemaker, who made his emotional return after the fractured skull he endured last year, gave Oakland a quick lead but it didn’t last long. Shoemaker had a pretty tough outing, allowing 4 hits and 2 runs in 5 innings while posting a poor 4:3 K/BB ratio and posted a decent 62.6% strike rate. His stuff looked good, with his fastball sitting 91-94 and his splitter showing serious depth, so there’s not much worry. In the top of the 2nd inning, Martin Maldonado singled home 2 runs off of Sean Manaea and Yunel Escobar singled home another run right after. Jed Lowrie’s solo home run cut the lead to 1 in the bottom of the inning, however. Mike Trout continued his hot start with a RBI triple in the 5th inning, giving the Angels a 4-2 lead. Things unraveled for the Angels in the 7th inning, when Blake Parker and Bud Norris, both newcomers to the team, allowed 5 combined hits and 4 runs. Through 2 games, the Angels bullpen allowed 7 hits and 5 runs  in 6.1 innings while striking out 7 hitters and walking 3.

Wednesday 4/5: W 5-0 @ Oakland

The Angels won their 2nd game of 2017 on Wednesday, putting them over the .500 mark for the first time since the 9th game of 2016(5-4 record through 9 games). The offense had a hit parade, cranking out 13 hits, while every single player reached base for the Angels. Mike Trout had 2 hits including a double. Kole Calhoun had a 3 hit night. Andrelton Simmons and C.J. Cron also had 2 hit nights. It was a great night for the team, except for the fact that Garrett Richards left the game early with a tight right biceps, which ended up putting him on the 10 Day DL for precautionary reasons. Considering the uncertainty surrounding Richards, this was a scary moment but all signs point to Richards being out for a short period of time. Richards pitched very well, however, striking out 4 batters and walking 1 in 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He generated 8 groundball outs, good for a 83.3% groundball rate(sick!) and averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball. The bullpen stifled the A’s offense after Richards was pulled, throwing 4.1 innings of scoreless ball, striking out 3 batters while walking none. Jose Alvarez, J.C. Ramirez and Yusmeiro Petit combined for a solid outing for the bullpen.

Thursday 4/6: L 5-1 @ Oakland

Tyler Skaggs made his first start of 2017 and hit outing was sunk by a poor 3rd inning where his poor command led to 4 runs being scored by the A’s. Ryon Healy’s 2 run home run was the big blow in the inning and even though Skaggs calmed down after that, his total line wasn’t too pretty. He did punch out 5 batters in his 5.1 innings of work and his 63% strike rate was fine but he allowed 5 hits and an uncharacteristic 3 walks and only generated 2 ground ball outs. Blake Parker and Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Parker followed Skaggs with 6 combined punchouts, 1 walk and zero hits in 2.2 innings pitched but the Angels offense never woke up. The Angels offense had a combined 5 hits and 3 walks against the A’s pitching, who were led by Andrew Triggs(5.2 innings and 1 run). Liam Hendriks, Santiago Casilla and Sean Doolittle combined for 3.1 innings to allow only one hit and struck out 6 batters and walked none. The Angels split their first series in Oakland and both teams scored 15 runs in the series, making for a competitive opening series.

Friday 4/7: W 5-1 vs Seattle

The Angels had their most impressive win of the season on Friday night and treated the fans to an entertaining home opener. Jesse Chavez shoved in 5.2 innings of work, allowing only 4 hits and a 1 run while striking out 6 batters and walking 1. Chavez allowed a 73.9% contact% on Friday night, utilizing his 3 different fastballs(4 seam, 2 seam, cutter) to get ahead in the count and finish guys off. The Angels bullpen built on Chavez’s success, tossing 3.1 innings of shutout ball, striking out 4 batters and walking none. Jose Alvarez, Bud Norris, Andrew Bailey and Blake Parker all pitcher very well to finish off the night. Cameron Maybin welcomed himself to Anaheim with a 101.2 mph bullet over the right center field wall and Kole Calhoun later hit a run moonshot that reached an apex of 109 feet. Mike Trout had a sac fly, walk and base knock and Martin Maldonado had a 2 hit night. Over 43,000 fans flocked to the Big A Friday night and ended up leaving as happy campers.

Saturday 4/8: W 5-4 vs Seattle

The Angels followed up a great win in their home opener with a dramatic win against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners on Saturday night. Mike Trout’s go ahead 417 foot 2 run home run in the 7th inning was the big moment the Angels needed to secure the victory. Cam Bedrosian was used in a progressive manner, throwing an inning and two thirds of scoreless baseball, securing the save and victory after punching out 4 batters. Angels starter Ricky Nolasco danced with fire the whole night, allowing 3 batted balls above 100 mph and 5 above 96+ mph, but managed to only allow 2 runs in 6 innings. Angels manager Mike Scioscia caught onto this quickly and went to J.C. Ramirez for 1 1/3 innings and made a bold and surprising move to bring Cam Bedrosian in to face the meat of the Angels order. If Mike Scioscia manages his bullpen with a purpose in 2017, the team could hypothetically sneak out a few extra victories this year. The Angels offense has a stellar night, barreling up plenty of baseballs and cranking out 13 hits and 5 runs. All 9 Angels hitters had hits on the night and Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar each had 3 hit games, with Escobar also hitting a 411 foot home run.

Sunday 4/9: W 10-9 vs Seattle

The Angels pulled off an all time epic comeback win on Sunday afternoon, riding a 7 run 9th inning to stun the Mariners and pull off the sweep. Trailing 9-3 entering the 9th, the Angels offense absolutely exploded, seeing a home run and game tying single from Albert Pujols and a walk off double from utility man Cliff Pennington. Entering this game, teams had won 346 games while leading by 6+ runs entering the 9th inning. That all changed when the Angels pulled off a comeback of epic proportions. This outcome looked completely unlikely earlier in the game after Matt Shoemaker blew up, allowing 5 hits and 7 runs in 4.1 innings of work. The Angels bullpen managed to keep it close despite the monster day from Robinson Cano, who homered and doubles while driving in 5 runs. The Angels finished off the first week of the season in the best way possible, completing the sweep of Seattle and starting off the season 5-2.

Week Notes

Runs Scored: 35

Runs Against: 29

Week MVP: Yunel Escobar

Mike Trout and Escobar were neck and neck this week but Escobar gets the slight nod over Trout. Escobar slashed .414/.452/.586 on the week and racked up 0.5 fWAR, placing him in the top 10 for position players in the opening week. It helps that he had a monstrous weekend in clutch situations, blasting a big home run Saturday night vs King Felix and having the 2 run double in the 9th inning Sunday to bring the deficit to 2 runs.

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