Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton home runs power Angels over Rockies
A sky of an Angels lineup, once blinking with All-Stars, has gone dim with injuries. It’s missed the brilliance of three-time MVP Mike Trout since his May 17 calf strain. It’s missed the on-base stability of Anthony Rendon, who’s been sidelined multiple times and hasn’t looked like himself on the field. And most recently, it’s missed the run-producing pop of first baseman Jared Walsh, who was put on the 10-day injured list Wednesday because of a muscle strain.
But Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton are still up there. There’s still two All-Stars hitting for Los Angeles. And in the fourth inning of Wednesday night’s game over the Colorado Rockies, they shone bright enough to power the Angels to an 8-7 victory.
“There’s still a lot of good names in that lineup,” manager Joe Maddon said before the game.
The biggest name at the moment – in all of baseball, really – struck first. After already scoring the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning off a Jose Iglesias single, designated hitter Ohtani walked to the plate in the fourth with the Angels down 3-1, looking to complete a two-out rally.
Things had started off innocuously enough. Outfielders Adam Eaton and Juan Lagares both took a strike three looking, leaving the Angels with nobody on and 2 outs. The surprising Jack Mayfield then proceeded to foul off three pitches before hitting a single in an eight-pitch at-bat. After second baseman David Fletcher was hit by a pitch, Ohtani stared down Rockies pitcher Jesus Tinoco with MVP chants breaking out across Angel Stadium.
As if he were acknowledging the crowd, Ohtani sent a 2-1 fastball from Tinoco well over the right-field fence for his 37th homer. In one crack of the bat, the Angels had a 4-3 lead.
But the two-out festivities didn’t end there. After a single by first baseman Phil Gosselin, Upton launched a two-run shot just over the short fence in the left-field corner.
Max Stassi hit a solo shot, his ninth on the year, on the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth to extend the Angels’ lead to 7-3.
Andrew Heaney, who drew the start for Los Angeles, was shaky at first, giving up a two-run homer to Rockies shortstop Trevor Story in the first inning. Yet he quickly settled down, using an array of well-placed fastballs and power curveballs to work out of jams.
In the top of the fifth, Heaney found himself in a dangerous spot with runners on first and second and two outs against Rockies cleanup hitter Elias Diaz. On a 2-2 count, he blew a high 93-mile-per-hour fastball by Diaz to finish the inning. Heaney ended his night with eight strikeouts and three runs allowed over six innings of work.
But after Heaney was removed to start the seventh inning, Steve Cishek – one of the Angels’ most reliable relievers all season – ran into trouble after Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia hit a two-run double.
After a walk of third baseman Brendan McMahon, booing broke out within the stadium. Catcher Elias Diaz hit a grounder that seemed like bad news before Mayfield dived to make an incredible play and throw McMahon out at second, but a throwing
error by second baseman David Fletcher on the double-play attempt scored Tapia
to narrow the Angels’ lead to 7-6.
The next inning, a single by Rockies second baseman Brendan Rogers brought home Joshua Fuentes to tie the score, 7-7. Angel Stadium had gone quiet.
Yet the Angels had one final push in the tank. Maddon said before the game that given the absence of Trout, Rendon and now Walsh, his team would have to manufacture runs and “take advantage of moments.”
Phil Gosselin, a journeyman who’s suddenly hitting near .300 for the Angels, certainly took advantage of his. After a David Fletcher single and Ohtani walk, Gosselin knocked a pitch into left field for the eventual game-winning single.
Closer Raisel Iglesias then set down the Rockies 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth inning to close out the win.
Angels vs. Rockies updates: Angels win 8-7
Top of the 1st — After Rockies leftfielder Raimel Tapia doubled to leftfield on the second pitch of the game from Andrew Heaney, shortstop Trevor Story sent a changeup deep into the leftfield bullpen to put Colorado up 2-0.
Bottom of the 1st — The Angels get on the board after a Jose Iglesias single scores Shohei Ohtani from second, who singled earlier in the inning. With two outs and the bases loaded for Adam Eaton, they had the chance to tack on more - but Eaton lined a ball right at Rockies centerfielder Garrett Hampson. It’s 2-1 Rockies after the first inning.
Top of the 3rd — Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney has settled in now, retiring the last six Rockies hitters with six total strikeouts across three innings. He beat Trevor Story with a fastball upstairs for an inning-ending strikeout after Story homered off him earlier in the game.
Bottom of the 3rd — Angels have a chance to strike with runners on first and second with one out, but squander another opportunity in scoring position after Jose Iglesias pops out in foul territory and Max Stassi flies out to rightfield. It’s still 2-1 Rockies after three innings.
Top of the 4th — The Rockies tack on another run after a wild pitch from Andrew Heaney scores catcher Elias Diaz from third. However, Heaney manages to escape the inning with only one run given up after putting runners on second and third with no outs. It’s now 3-1 Rockies going into the bottom of the 4th.
Bottom of the 4th — The Angels strung together an incredible two-out rally to take a 6-3 lead. After a single from Jack Mayfield and hit-by-pitch of David Fletcher, Shohei Ohtani delivers a three-run homer to right field, his 37th this season. They didn’t stop there - a single from Phil Gosselin and subsequent two-run homer from Justin Upton has broke the game open.
Bottom of the 5th — Angels catcher Max Stassi delivers a solo shot on the first pitch of the inning to push the Angels’ lead to 7-3, their third home run on the night.
Top of the 7th — The Angels ran into trouble after a Raimel Tapia two-run double and throwing error from David Fletcher put three runs on the board for Colorado. Los Angeles escaped the inning with a narrow 7-6 lead.
Top of the 8th — The Rockies have stormed all the way back to tie the game 7-7 on an RBI single from Brendan Rogers. Closer Raisel Iglesias strikes out Trevor Story to stop the bleeding, but the damage is done.
Bottom of the 8th — Phil Gosselin notches a huge single to drive home David Fletcher and give the Angels an 8-7 lead heading into the top of the ninth.
Final — Angels win a nailbiter 8-7 after a 1-2-3 ninth inning from closer Raisel Iglesias.
Jared Walsh placed on IL, infielder Matt Thaiss called up
Another top bat for the Angels has been ruled out for an extended period.
First baseman Jared Walsh, in the midst of an All-Star season, suffered pain in his side during a swing in Monday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies and has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right intercostal strain. Walsh defined the injury as tightness around the ribcage area, but indicated his pain level was at just a 1 or 2 out of 10.
“It’s going to take a little time - the severity wasn’t great, but it’s just one of those things that you don’t know how it’s going to play out,” manager Joe Maddon said before Wednesday’s game.
The Angels announced today that infielder Matt Thaiss would be called up from Triple-A and reliever Austin Warren was selected from the Salt Lake Bees to the MLB roster.
Thaiss spent extended time with the Angels as a first baseman in 2019, hitting .211 in 147 at-bats with eight home runs. He’ll get reps at first with Walsh out, Maddon said, as the manager indicated he and infielder Phil Gosselin would split time there.
Previously, Thaiss was selected 16th overall by the Angels in the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Virginia. Thaiss has primarily caught in 2021 for the Bees, hitting .287 with a .932 OPS, but is confident in the adjustment back to first base.
In his first year at Triple-A this season, Warren has struggled at times, with a 6.19 ERA. However, he rose quickly through the Angels’ system with strong numbers at A and AA levels.
“I’m just going to try to go out there and fill it up,” Warren said.
As Warren was called up, reliever Andrew Wantz was sent down. Wantz allowed three earned runs in 5.1 innings of work in his cup of coffee with the Angels this season. He made a fan in Maddon, however.
“I like this guy’s arm,” Maddon said. “I like his stuff, and I like him.”
Angels again feeling errors of their ways, blown out by Rockies
Coming into Tuesday night’s game, the Angels ranked 29th in defensive runs above average, a catch-all advanced statistic meant to measure overall defensive value. On this night, though, fancy stats weren’t necessary to explain what the Angels lacked on defense. That much was clear.
Three errors leading to four unearned runs early propelled the Rockies to a 12-3 win over the Angels. The loss drops them to 50-50 at the 100-game mark, another setback during a week in which the team must make decisions about where it sees itself within the American League wild-card race.
Jack Mayfield, who had gone 167 consecutive innings at third base without an error, bobbled a ground ball on the second play of the game. When Trevor Story, the very next batter, hit another grounder to third, Mayfield bobbled that one too. From there, all it took to score the game’s opening runs were two infield ground balls.
The Rockies added another run in the third with a Brendan Rodgers home run. Then a Jose Iglesias throwing error — also on a Story ground ball — set the Rockies up for more. A Ryan McMahon single scored Story. An Elias Diaz single scored McMahon. Suddenly it was 5-0, despite starting pitcher Jose Suarez having looked good to that point.
“I did find it a little difficult [to recover from the first inning],” Suarez said via an interpreter. “I was trying to get out of that inning with the fewest pitches as possible. But it’s something I can’t control so it’s part of the game.”
The Angels had a chance to cut into the lead in the bottom of the third, putting two on with nobody out and the heart of the order coming up. Shohei Ohtani, Phil Gosselin and Justin Upton proceeded to strike out.
It was that kind of night.
Colorado added four more runs in the fourth inning. And, though there were no errors charged to the Angels in that inning, the rally started after a bad throw from Kurt Suzuki allowed Garrett Hampson to steal second base. From there, all it took to score Hampson was a Raimel Tapia single.
Angels manager Joe Maddon lifted Suarez two batters later, after a Story ground-rule double put runners on first and third, but that didn’t quell the rally. Andrew Wantz gave up a three-run home run to Sam Hilliard to make it 9-0. Suarez’s final line: eight runs, four of them earned.
“It was a leaky dam all night and we just couldn’t plug her up,” Maddon said.
On the other side, Austin Gomber pitched a solid six innings for Colorado, striking out seven and giving up two runs.
One positive for the Angels was Ohtani’s 36th home run — a 463-foot bomb to right-center field in the fifth — but that came when they were trailing 10-0. Upon the end of that half-inning, fans streamed toward the exits.
By the time they had pulled out of the Angel Stadium parking lot, the Rockies had added two more runs.
After that, the only thing they missed was outfielder Adam Eaton pitching the ninth for the Angels and flashing a fastball that reached up to 90 mph.
“Those two-run losses or 3-2s, and you gotta dissect those, those are much more difficult,” Maddon said. “So we gotta throw this one away, come back tomorrow and play again.”
Still, with the trade deadline looming, a loss like this was exactly the opposite of what the Angels needed. They would like to consider themselves contenders, geared to ride Ohtani and Mike Trout to a playoff berth once the latter returns from an extended injury absence.
But they may not get that chance. Earlier this week, Maddon said the Angels were, “running out of hall passes.”
And they just used up another one.
Angels vs. Rockies updates: Angels lose 12-3
Top 1st - The Rockies scored two runs after loading the bases with nobody out on consecutive errors by Jack Mayfield. Infield ground balls from Charlie Blackmon and C.J. Cron scored the runs, and it took Jose Suarez 25 pitches to get out of the inning.
Top 3rd - Brendan Rodgers started the inning by taking Jose Suarez deep, and then things got worse for the Angels.
Trevor Story reached on a Jose Iglesias error and eventually came around to score on a Ryan McMahon single. McMahon himself scored one batter later, when Elias Diaz singled him home. Colorado leads 5-0, and four of the runs are unearned.
Top 4th - Colorado broke the game open, chasing Jose Suarez from the game after Raimel Tapia singled home Garrett Hampson to make it 6-0.
A Trevor Story ground rule double prompted Maddon to pull Suarez. But that didn’t stop the bleeding. Andrew Wantz gave up a 3-run home run to Sam Hilliard to make it 9-0 and, most likely, end the competitive portion of the night.
End 5 - Shohei Ohtani put a silver lining on this game with a 463-foot shot for his 36th home run of the year. But barring a miracle, it’s quite a thin silver lining.
Final — Rockies win 12-3 - The outcome was determined by the fifth inning and Adam Eaton pitched the ninth for the Angels. It was a loss every bit as bad as the scoreline suggests and drops the Angels to .500 at the season’s 100-game mark.
Jack Mayfield continues to help, homers in Angels’ win over Rockies
He was acquired by the Angels in February. Designated for assignment two months later. Claimed off waivers by the Angels in June.
It’s been a wild ride for infielder Jack Mayfield this season. Really, a wild career. He’s a 30-year-old infielder who has had fewer than 200 at-bats in the big leagues and hit below .200.
But, improbably, Mayfield has become a July savior for the Angels in filling in for the injured Anthony Rendon at third base. Perhaps his most timely heroics yet came Monday night in a 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies, as he hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to give the Angels a three-run lead.
“I don’t think it’s a flash in the pan,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He just needed an opportunity.”
While Mayfield delivered in a big moment, it was starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani’s brilliance that made the largest Angels footprint on this game. His final stat line Monday: seven innings pitched, one run given up, one hit at the plate, one RBI, one impressive putout and one triumphant stolen base.
Simply calling him a two-way player, it seems, is almost becoming a slight.
In the top of the first inning, with two outs and a runner on first, the Rockies’ Trevor Story hit a sharp grounder up the middle that could have spelled trouble. Yet Ohtani picked it cleanly, tossing it to first baseman Jared Walsh for the out and shooting a grin at Story for good measure.
“He asked me initially, ‘How did you catch that?’ And I was answering,” Ohtani said through an interpreter after the game.
In the bottom of the first, Ohtani grounded a broken-bat single up the middle off Rockies starter Germán Márquez to drive in the Angels’ first run. With Ohtani at first base and one out, Márquez tried a couple of pickoff attempts. They didn’t work.
Ohtani dashed to second, sliding in with his 14th steal of the season. Walsh then blooped a single over Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers’ head, scoring Ohtani to put the Angels up 2-0.
That proved to be enough support for Ohtani. He didn’t have his best stuff — striking out just five — but he worked out of jams and earned the win to improve to 5-1.
In the seventh inning, he swiveled and fist-pumped after setting the Rockies’ Dom Nunez down swinging. Nunez had homered in the fifth. The strikeout served as the closing image on Ohtani’s night. Jose Quintana replaced him to start the eighth.
“[Nunez] hit that homer off me,” Ohtani said. “I had something left in the tank.”
Before the game, Maddon praised Ohtani’s development as a pitcher.
“He knows, ‘My slider’s good today, my cutter’s good today, I’m not feeling my split today,’” Maddon said. “He makes adjustments in the game constantly that most guys can’t do.”
Before sitting out Friday’s game at Minnesota, Ohtani had been in the lineup in the Angels’ first five games after the All-Star break, with a start on the mound against Oakland as well. Maddon said before Monday’s game that he thought the day off helped.
Ohtani, of course, didn’t want the day off, Maddon said. But after two hitless performances leading up to Friday, he has gone five for 11 since.
“He was absolutely eager to pitch and hit today,” Maddon said. “He’s a unique young man.”
The Angels looked in trouble up 4-2 in the eighth inning when the Rockies’ Sam Hilliard sent a shot to center field with runners on second and third with two outs. A couple more feet and the Rockies would have had the lead, but center fielder Brandon Marsh made the inning-ending catch at the wall.
The Angels broke open the game in the bottom of the eighth. Max Stassi’s single scored José Iglesias, and Adam Eaton hit a sacrifice fly.
Walsh, who was an All-Star this season but had notched just two hits across his previous eight games, had two hits and the RBI. He left in the eighth inning because of right abdominal soreness, though, and will be evaluated again Tuesday.
The Angels let Mayfield go once this season. From the sounds of Maddon — who said there’s a place for the third baseman somewhere on this Angels team even after Rendon returns from injury — that probably won’t happen again.
“I didn’t look into him deeply [in spring training],” Maddon said. “Now I am.”
After Shohei Ohtani’s stellar start, Angels hold off Rockies in 6-2 win
A recap of the Angels 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies:
End 1st — Ohtani has big inning, Angels lead 2-0: Shohei Ohtani did a little bit of everything in the first inning Monday. In the top half, he pitched a scoreless inning that included a strikeout and impressive snag on a comebacker to the mound.
At the plate, he drove home the Angels’ first run with a broken bat single, stole second base for his 14th steal of the year, then scored on Jared Walsh’s RBI single.
Top 4th — Story stays in game after hit by pitch, Angels lead 2-0: With one out in the fourth, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story took a 97 mph fastball from Ohtani off his left hand, a scary-looking hit by pitch that left Story — the subject of numerous trade rumors in recent weeks — writhing in pain.
After being checked out by trainers, however, Story was able to stay in the game. The Rockies couldn’t take advantage though, stranding both Story and Sam Hilliard (who later singled) to remain scoreless.
Top 5th — Nuñez homers for Rockies, Angels lead 2-1: Ohtani’s scoreless streak, going back to to July 6, ended at 11 innings after Dom Nuñez hit a towering solo home run to right field.
Top 7th — Ohtani gets through seven innings, Angels lead 2-1: For the third time this year, Ohtani completed seven innings on the mound, capping a 1-2-3 with a fist pump after striking out Nuñez with a 99.7 mph fastball. At 99 pitches, it might have been Ohtani’s final of the night.
Bottom 7th — Mayfield homers, Angels lead 4-1: Jack Mayfield’s blistering form continued in the seventh inning, as he hit his third home run in the last five games. This time, the third baseman hooked a two-run blast inside the left field foul pole after fouling a ball off his foot earlier in the at-bat.
Top 8th — Ohtani exits, Angels lead trimmed to 4-2: Ohtani’s night did indeed end after seven innings. He gave up one run, five hits, no walks and struck out five. His ERA is now 3.04.
Jared Walsh also left the game, but with an apparent injury that he seemed to sustain in the sixth inning on an awkward swing that led to a single. The TV broadcast showed Walsh grimacing and grabbing at his side. Phil Gosselin took over at first.
On the mound, the Angels bullpen almost made a mess of the inning. José Quintana began the frame but gave up a solo home run to Brendan Rodgers and a single to Charlie Blackmon. With one out, Steve Cishek entered, struck out his first batter, but then gave up a ground-rule double to put the tying runners in scoring position.
In the next at-bat, Sam Hilliard hit a deep fly ball to center field, but it died at the wall to end the inning.
Final — Angels win 6-2: The Angels added a couple insurance runs in the eighth, then got a perfect ninth inning out of closer Raisel Iglesias (in a non-save situation). The team is now 50-49 and sits just five games back in the AL wild card race.
Still no timeline return for Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon
More than two months after star Angels outfielder Mike Trout’s calf strain May 17, there’s still “no finish line” for his return, according to manager Joe Maddon.
Trout visited a doctor Monday, Maddon told media before that night’s tilt against the Colorado Rockies. There are no setbacks, and the injury is trending in the right direction, per the manager – however, he’s unsure of the next step.
“I can tell just by talking to him, it’s not to the point to where he feels really good about pushing it any further,” Maddon said.
Trout’s doctor told him that what he was feeling was natural and normal, Maddon said.
“We’ll be able to ramp up activities soon,” Maddon said. “We’re going to get him back.”
The three-time MVP has played just 36 games this season after feeling a “pop” in a game against the formerly-named Cleveland Indians. Named an All-Star despite the missed time, he’s hit .333 with eight home runs.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, who went on the disabled list July 6 with a hamstring strain, isn’t recovering quickly either. Maddon said Rendon’s condition was “stuck in the middle,” using similar verbiage as with Trout to describe the situation.
“Nothing going backwards, it’s just that he’s not making progress,” Maddon said. “He’s not feeling to the point where we could push it a little bit harder.”
Time is running out for Rendon to return and turn his season around, as he was just starting to gain some traction at the plate before his third trip to the injured list. On the year, he’s hitting just .240 with a .712 OPS in 58 games.
Maddon said Rendon would need a rehab assignment in the minor leagues, pushing his return back to sometime in August at the earliest.
“There’s probably going to be a pretty good level of getting him back to speed,” Maddon said.
Maddon also said he’d know more about Alex Cobb’s injury later today. Cobb exited Friday’s game against the Minnesota Twins early with a blister, which Maddon noted was under the skin.
Angels vs. Rockies: Betting lines, odds for Monday night
The Angels start a three-game series against the Rockies at 6:38 p.m. Monday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
The Angels are -145 home favorites with Shohei Ohtani (4-1, 3.21 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) getting the start on five days’ rest. Ohtani took a no-decision in his last start against the A’s on July 19 as the Angels lost 4-1, but it wasn’t his fault as he allowed just three hits in six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. Ohtani has been struggling at the plate since the all-star break, but he hit his MLB-leading 35th homer in the Angels’ 6-2 win over Twins.
The Angels won three games in the four-game series to get back to .500 at 49-49. They’re 11 games behind the AL West-leading Astros, but just 5.5 games back in the AL wild-card chase. The Angels are understandably favored over the Rockies, who are 43-56 (.434) and out of the NL West race, but German Marquez (8-7, 3.50 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) is a formidable foe for Ohtani.
Oddsmakers have set the Over/Under low at 7.5 runs for this solid pitching matchup.
The Angels are -240 favorites to win at least two games in the three-game series.