The Angels need offense, especially from the left side, which is why first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss was called up from triple-A Salt Lake and inserted into the ninth spot in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies at Angel Stadium.
Krauss, who was edged out by Efren Navarro for an opening-day roster spot, hit .367 with two home runs, 17 runs batted in and 16 runs in 28 games at Salt Lake but was particularly effective in his last 10 games, batting .444 (16 for 36) with a .556 on-base percentage, .639 slugging percentage and 13 RBIs.
“It’s pretty clear, even though it’s a small sample size, that the balance from the left side and right side is not quite there,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s something we’re going to try to address.”
The Angels entered Tuesday ranked 14th in the American League in runs per game (3.69) and average (.228) and last in OBP (.289) and slugging (.347).
But they have been even worse against right-handed pitchers, batting .222 with a .281 OBP and .327 slugging percentage. They were 6-3 against left-handed starters but 9-14 against right-handers.
Left-handed-hitting leadoff man Kole Calhoun entered Tuesday batting .294 with three homers and 18 RBIs, but left-handed-hitting Matt Joyce, who opened the season in the cleanup spot, was batting .140 with one homer and seven RBIs.
“Marc really swung the bat well in his last 40-50 at-bats at triple-A, he had a good spring and can get on base and work counts,” Scioscia said. “Right now, if we’re looking to set the table for the guys [at the top of the order], he’s a guy who might fit in.”
Krauss, who can play both corner-outfield spots, has 119 games of big-league experience with the Houston Astros in 2013-2014. Much like catcher Carlos Perez, who has quickly earned playing time over struggling incumbent Chris Iannetta, Krauss could seize regular playing time if he stays hot.
“There is an opportunity — that’s the way I’m looking at it,” Krauss, 27, said. “Every time you’re put in the lineup, it’s an opportunity to do something and to help the team win. … But I’m not going to put any extra pressure on myself.
“It’s already tough enough to hit. I can’t think about that kind of stuff, ‘What’s going to happen in a few days? How long am I gonna be around?’ I just want to have some good at-bats and help the team win, and if you do that, you usually stick around.”