Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons is proving he is more than an elite defender
He emerged offensively last year and reported to spring training in February intent on continuing to establish himself as being more than an elite defender.
Fifteen games into the season, no one had more hits than Andrelton Simmons.
“I’m in a good place,” the Angels shortstop said. “I’m comfortable at the plate, seeing the ball well. I can’t complain.”
Simmons began Saturday with 21 hits and a .339 average, and also ranked among baseball’s leaders with 13 runs.
The Angels have been powered mostly by their offense and bullpen to a historically good start for the franchise. Their 13 victories are the most in the majors.
“A rally can start from anywhere in the lineup,” Simmons said. “Anybody can get that big hit. Guys are going up there with confidence.”
The Angels offense has performed at such a high level that Shohei Ohtani was intentionally walked recently as the No. 8 hitter and Simmons, despite his fast start, was dropped to the eighth spot Friday.
“That’s a sign that you have a really good thing going,” Simmons said. “It’s a product of everyone having good at-bats. And we’re winning. Baseball is more fun when you’re winning.”
It’s not ideal
Having grown up in northern Japan, Ohtani has experienced cold weather. He couldn’t recall, however, pitching in conditions similar to what he’ll likely face Sunday in Kansas City.
Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the mid-30s at game time (11:15 a.m. PDT) with 20-mph winds.
“It’s just what you have to deal with,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Our guys will be ready.”
The game will be shown live in Japan, where the first pitch will come at 3:15 a.m.
Ohtani has won his first two starts, striking out 18 in 13 innings with an earned-run average of 2.08.
Kinsler sits out
A day after contributing three hits, two runs, two stolen bases and the game-winning sacrifice fly, second baseman Ian Kinsler didn’t start Saturday.
Scioscia said Kinsler is being eased back into playing every day having just returned from a stint on the disabled list because of an adductor strain. The nature of the injury, combined with the chilly weather, contributed to the decision.
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