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Angels beat the Rangers 5-0 behind Dylan Bundy

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Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy throws a pitch in the first inning Thursday.
Dylan Bundy, throwing a pitch in the first inning Thursday, limited the Rangers to three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.
(Brandon Wade/Associated Press)

The Angels return to the Southland one game above .500.

Dylan Bundy gets his second win of the season and the Angels take the final three games of the four-game series with the Rangers in Texas. Next up is the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium beginning on Friday.

Dylan Bundy dominates and Angels shut out Rangers 5-0

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and his teammates celebrate.
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) and his teammates celebrate a 5-0 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.
(Brandon Wade / Associated Press)

Officially, Dylan Bundy fills one spot on the Angels’ roster. But there’s really two versions of the 28-year-old pitcher.

There’s the guy who finished ninth in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2020 — the mustachioed menace who limits homers and walks, locates his fastball well and works out of jams with big strikeouts.

There’s also the guy who’s been one of the worst pitchers in the league this season — the mustachioed menace who’s been hard-pressed to work deep into games, struggled to command his pitches and been knocked around the ballpark. Bundy dragged a 1-8 record into Thursday afternoon’s game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field.

That Bundy vanished, replaced by the other Bundy, who strode out to the mound inning after inning in a 5-0 victory with a cowboy’s swagger.

“Give him credit,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said after Bundy pitched 61/3 innings. “The guy never quits.”

Bundy’s ERA stood at 6.58 in late June. Unable to replicate last season’s performance as the team’s ace, he was moved to the bullpen.

“That’s about rock bottom for me, there,” Bundy said of losing his rotation spot. “Had to change something.”

That change was a shorter arm action. Bundy was having issues with a long, inconsistent delivery. It took some convincing to implement such a mechanical overhaul.

“I didn’t want to do it during the middle of the season — I wanted to wait until the offseason,” Bundy said. “When you’re trying not to miss your spot by three inches in the big leagues, it’s hard to do when you’re trying to create a whole new arm stroke.”

“It’s not easy, and you have to be really careful with it,” Maddon said. “Today, he was more comfortable with it.”

He looked it, keeping the Rangers off-balance. Bundy peppered sinkers on the inside corner that induced groundout after flyout, coming back with deceptive four-seamers in the 89 mph to 91 mph range that Texas hitters swung through time and again.

In the bottom of the first, Bundy ran into trouble after a one-out single by Nathaniel Lowe and a walk of Adolis Garcia. Pitches directed low by catcher Max Stassi ended high. The day could’ve wound up as a carbon copy of Bundy’s last start July 29 against the Oakland Athletics, where any hope for a strong outing was squashed by a three-run first inning.

“The first two innings, I was still kind of trying to figure it out, commandwise,” Bundy said. “I was missing my spots by quite a bit.”

But Bundy went right at designated hitter Jonah Heim with a three-pitch strikeout. Another three-pitch sequence to second baseman Andy Ibanez ended the inning with a popout.

From there, he retired 14 of the next 15 hitters. In the bottom of the sixth, a perfectly painted 3-2 fastball on the outside corner froze Lowe, who nodded his head in acknowledgment before trudging back to the dugout.

Bundy exited with one out in the seventh inning after an infield single and a walk put runners on first and second.

Reliever Junior Guerra made sure that Bundy’s ledger remained clean, striking out the next two hitters to end the inning.

A solid all-around performance by the bullpen completed the shutout. The Angels have given up fewer than three runs a game, on average, since July 28.

“They’re feeding off one another,” Maddon said.

Aside from a third-inning homer by outfielder Adam Eaton — his first as an Angel — the team instead capitalized on Texas mistakes, playing a brand of small ball that Maddon’s been preaching the entire season.

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Angels score two in sixth for 5-0 lead

Top of the sixth inning: The Angels continue to capitalize on mistakes from the Rangers to jump out to a 5-0 lead. After a leadoff single from Jo Adell, a Brandon Marsh bunt that looked like it could force Adell out at second turned into a throwing error by Rangers third baseman Yonny Hernandez, sending Adell to third and Marsh to second. Jose Iglesias then lined a 0-2 pitch into left field for a two-run single.

Bottom of the sixth: Dylan Bundy is continuing to attack Rangers hitters, completely dominating this game in a return to his 2020 form. With a mix of well-located fastballs and timely sinkers, Bundy is through six shutout innings with five strikeouts and just two hits and a walk given up. Angels 5, Rangers 0

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Angels break out on top with three-run third

Top of the third inning: After a home run by Adam Eaton off Rangers starter Spencer Howard to lead off the inning, third baseman Jack Mayfield singled on an 0-2 count. David Fletcher hit a groundball to first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, who flipped the ball over Howard’s head for an error that sent Mayfield to third. A wild pitch with Shohei Ohtani at the plate scored Mayfield, and Max Stassi followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.

Bottom of the third: Is this a redemption start for Angels right hander Dylan Bundy? He’s struggled this season, but been superb so far through three innings, retiring six straight heading into the fourth inning. Angels 3, Rangers 0

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Joe Maddon: Jared Walsh progressing well from injury

The Angels’ lineup suffered its latest in a season-long string of disappointments on Wednesday, with the announcement that third baseman Anthony Rendon would undergo season-ending surgery on his right hip.

But if manager Joe Maddon’s comments Thursday morning were any indication, help could soon be on the way.

First baseman Jared Walsh, who has been out since July 26 with a right intercostal strain, appears to be progressing well toward recovery.

“He’s swinging the bat, he feels good, there’s been no setbacks,” Maddon said before Thursday’s game against the Texas Rangers. “He’s not feeling [the injury] when he swings or afterwards.”

The manager said he hadn’t gotten a definitive word from the training staff yet on Walsh’s condition, but would “probably have that conversation with them” Thursday morning to determine the All-Star’s status heading into the weekend.

A healthy Walsh would provide to a lift to a lineup that — outside of an 11-run outburst on Tuesday against the Rangers — has largely been struggling to drive runners home for the past week. Walsh ranks second on the Angels in home runs (22) and RBI (67), with an OPS of .837.

In the meantime, iInfielder Phil Gosselin has been filling in at first. With the Angels Los Angeles already stretched thin and Matt Thaiss sent down to Triple-A, Maddon said that outfielders Justin Upton and Adam Eaton are taking groundballs at first base in the event of an injury to Gosselin.

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Angels a slight favorite to notch third win in series finale against Rangers

The Angels complete a four-game series with the Rangers at 11:05 a.m. Thursday in Arlington, Texas.

Las Vegas bookmakers have installed the Angels as the smallest of favorites at -107 (books with a 10-cent line have the Rangers at -103). The Angels have won two of the first three games of the series (they were -130 series favorites) as they’ve climbed back to .500 at 54-54, still 6.5 games out of the AL’s second wild card spot. The Angels are also 7-4 in the season series against the Rangers, who have the third-worst record in the majors at 39-69 (.361).

Dylan Bundy (1-8, 6.66 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) starts for the Angels while Spencer Howard (0-2, 5.72 ERA, 1.48 WHIP with the Phillies) makes his Texas debut.

The Over/Under has been set at 9 runs. The Under leads 2-1 in this season, but the Over is 6-5 in the season series.

VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, offers more expert sports betting content in a free daily email at VSiN.com/email.

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Angels beat Rangers 2-1, but day marred by Rendon news

Angels' Jack Mayfield and third base coach Brian Butterfield celebrate Mayfield's solo home run.
Angels’ Jack Mayfield and third base coach Brian Butterfield celebrate Mayfield’s solo home run in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

The Angels beat the Rangers 2-1 on Wednesday night, Raisel Iglesias pointing at the sky after inducing a game-ending double play. That was secondary though.

It was the midafternoon announcement, hours before Shohei Ohtani took the mound, that Anthony Rendon would undergo season-ending surgery on a right hip impingement that will matter more.

One week ago — centered on the eventual returns of Rendon and Mike Trout from the injured list — the Angels arguably were not yet out of the playoff race. Now?

Since then, the Angels lost three of four to Oakland, the team they are trying to catch in the AL wild-card standings.

They traded two ancillary pitchers at the trade deadline while the A’s and Yankees added to their lineups. The Angels called up three prospects — pitchers Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez and right fielder Jo Adell. (Rodriguez was sent down Wednesday but could make his second start next week).

And now, manager Joe Maddon was unable to say if Rendon would be ready in time for spring training.

As for Trout, there’s been no update, positive or negative.

If not for all of that, there might have been some encouragement to take from the Angels’ win, Jack Mayfield’s second straight game with a home run and the team’s return to .500.

But no matter what happened in Texas — the Angels did take two of three from the Rangers — that confluence of events is enough to think the focus is on 2022.

“We’ve been missing some very major pieces all year, [Rendon] as much as anybody obviously,” Maddon said. “Just want him to be well, want it to get over with, want him to feel better about himself. Want him to be ready for next season full-fledged. That’s the reaction.”

When Rendon, on the second year of a seven-year, $245-million contract, went on the injured list early in July, it was thought to be a hamstring injury that wouldn’t keep him out past the All-Star break. But at some point, the hamstring issue became a hip issue.

“I just guess, because he wasn’t feeling relief, they went a little more deeply with it,” Maddon said, “and the conclusion was something with his hip. I guess an impingement.”

Rendon had also missed 11 games in April with a left groin strain and nine in May with a left knee contusion.

In the 58 games he did play, Rendon slashed just .240/.329/.382 with six home runs — a far cry from the level of output the Angels expected.

The Angels can take solace that Ohtani, the AL MVP favorite, is still in their lineup every night. He pitched six innings of four-hit, one-run ball on Tuesday, too, lowering his ERA to 2.93.

Afterward, he said his injured thumb didn’t affect him, though Ohtani and Maddon didn’t think it was his best night on the mound.

“Maybe not his most dynamic performance, but again highly effective,” Maddon said.

“Ideally, I wish I could’ve not given up that one run in the sixth inning,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “But it is what it is.”

In an injury-marred season that seems likely to be the franchise’s seventh straight without a postseason berth, Ohtani still counts as a solid consolation prize. But, victory or not, the Rendon news was the latest blow.

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Live updates: Angels beat Rangers 2-1

Final, Angels win, 2-1 — Shohei Ohtani pitched six scoreless innings, Jack Mayfield homered for the second straight game and the bullpen held on to give the Angels their second win of three in Texas. The day will be marred by the pregame news that Anthony Rendon is out for the season, but once the game got underway, the Angels did what they needed to do and got back to .500.

End 8 — Things looked a bit nervy for the Angels in the 8th after Isiah Kiner-Falefa got on with one out. But a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play ended the inning and let Steve Cishek breathe a sigh of relief. We’re onto the ninth with the Angels hanging onto a 2-1 lead.

End 6 — A leadoff double by Isiah Kiner-Falefa let the Rangers cut the deficit in half. Shohei Ohtani got the next three hitters out, but Kiner-Falefa advanced to third, then came home on two consecutive groundouts.

Top 5 — Jack Mayfield homered for the second straight night, taking Allard deep to extend the Angels’ lead to 2-0.

David Fletcher followed that up with a triple, but Ohtani couldn’t drive him in, flying out to right to end the inning.

Top 3 — The Angels took the lead with an impressive bit of baserunning by Juan Lagares. After singling and moving to second on a Jack Mayfield base hit, Lagares scored on a Kolby Allard wild pitch. Shohei Ohtani ended the threat by grounding to first with Mayfield at third, but the Angels lead 1-0.

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Third baseman Anthony Rendon needs season-ending surgery

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon is set to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a right hip impingement, the team announced Wednesday.

Rendon, the 31-year-old former All-Star who is in the second season of a seven-year, $245-million contract, had been out since July 5 with a left hamstring strain. It was his third time on the injured list this season.

The team expects Rendon, who was placed on the 60-day IL Wednesday, to be ready by opening day next season. Manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t know whether Rendon would be ready for spring training.

During his injury-plagued 2021 season, Rendon batted a career-low .240 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 58 games.

He missed 11 games in April with a left groin strain, nine in May after suffering a left knee contusion when he fouled a ball off his leg, and then got hurt again on July 4.

“This year he was never able to get on track, for whatever reason,” Maddon said. “I don’t know how much that hamstring [or] hip had to do with it, but he never seemed to be able to gain any traction. Cause he gets, torrid is the right word, he gets so hot, but he just was not able to do that this year.”

Initially, Rendon’s hamstring injury wasn’t believed to be serious. The team had hoped he would be back by the start of the second half of the season following the All-Star break.

But Maddon said in recent weeks that Rendon’s recovery hadn’t been progressing. The announcement Wednesday was the first time the team had noted a problem with his hip.

Maddon said he didn’t remember when the hip became part of the issue, but seemed to connect that injury with the original diagnosis.

“I just guess, because he wasn’t feeling relief, they went a little bit more deeply with it and the conclusion was something with his hip,” Maddon said. “I guess an impingement. So it’s something I don’t understand, how it goes from [hamstring] to hip, but it did and now we have to treat it.”

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Jo Adell leads Angels past Rangers 11-3

The Angels' Jo Adell follows through on a groundout to third as Texas Rangers catcher Jose Trevino looks on.
The Angels’ Jo Adell had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs in his team’s 11-3 win.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

The TV cameras didn’t betray Jo Adell’s emotions.

He stood on second base, hands on his hips, chewing gum and looking ahead, focused. Minutes earlier, he had gotten his first hit of the season, taking a curveball over the outside corner and serving it over the head of Texas Rangers left fielder Eli White to drive in two runs with two outs in the third inning.

That might have proved a forgettable moment in the Angels’ eventual 11-3 blowout win over the Rangers on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas. But with the Angels improving to 53-54, on the outer fringes of the playoff conversation, what matters more than the outcome is the performance of players such as Adell, who made his 2021 major league debut Tuesday.

“Felt good,” Adell said. “... Try to get pitches I could handle and good things happen.”

Adell, 22, became the third prospect the Angels have promoted since the trade deadline, after pitchers Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez, and now embarks on an extended chance to correct a 2020 season gone wrong.

The Angels’ first-round pick in 2017, Adell was given a chance to prove himself over 38 games last season in the majors. He batted .161 with a .212 on-base percentage and .266 slugging percentage, hitting three home runs with a park-adjusted on-base-plus-slugging percentage 72% below league average.

Highlights from the Angels’ 11-3 road win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

That, he and Angels manager Joe Maddon said before the game, had more to do with the opportunity-constricting circumstances that encompassed 2020.

“I think in a game or a season as short as last year, the toughest part is jumping into that group,” Adell said. “There’s really no time to struggle when you’re trying to play the season that you want.”

This year, Adell said, he has worked on refining his approach at the plate — picking his spots and thinking through at-bats.

“Understanding which pitches I’m going to hit well and which ones I’m not,” Adell said. “There’s going to be guys that are going to come in, you’re not going to be able to capitalize on every pitch that they throw. But the ones that are close that you think you can handle, you try to do the damage to those.”

The results have borne out in triple-A Salt Lake City, where Adell smashed 23 home runs, slugged .592 with a .934 OPS, and quieted any lingering doubt that might have been planted because of his struggles last year. If Tuesday is any indication, the results might just bear out in the majors too.

The Angels are chasing a playoff spot, but also thinking ahead in promoting several players from the minors and giving them a chance to contribute now.

Adell started his night by looking at the first five pitches he saw from Jordan Lyles before fighting back from a 1-2 count to work a walk. That at-bat, Maddon said after the game, was what stood out the most from a night in which Adell went three for four with a walk, three RBIs and a stolen base.

“I think I probably would have swung at a couple sliders or cutters early in the count [last year],” Adell said. “... Over time, you start to see these pitches and pick up on what they’re going to do.”

The next inning, Adell put the Angels up 3-1 with the aforementioned double. By the end of the night, he added an RBI single and another double, but he wasn’t the only Angel to have a big night at the plate.

Reid Detmers was the Angels’ top draft choice in 2020. After losing a season to the pandemic, his composure, command and routine have him in the majors.

The Angels scored three runs in the third, and Phil Gosselin added a fourth with an RBI single in the fifth. Jack Mayfield hit a two-run homer in the sixth, then the dam burst in the seventh.

Texas reliever Dennis Santana loaded the bases with nobody out, giving up a single and walking two. Singles from Gosselin and Adell scored two runs from there. Then a throwing error by Rangers shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa on what could have been a double play allowed two more runs to score, making it 10-3.

The Angels will be encouraged by José Suarez’s 5 2/3 innings of work. He gave up three runs and six hits, the only big mistake coming on Andy Ibañez’s two-run home run during the third time through the order.

Those details, though, will prove fleeting over time. If, as the last week has made it seem, the rest of this Angels season is focused on the future, then what counts most is Adell’s performance.

“You have to have those epiphany moments,” Maddon said before the game, “and you just can’t have them in a 60-game season.”

But in Game 107 of this season, Adell just might have.

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Live updates: Angels beat Rangers 11-3

Final. Angels win 11-3: The night’s competitive portion was over after the 7th inning and the Angels blew the Rangers out, 11-3, to move to 53-54. Jo Adell went 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs and a stolen base in his 2021 debut, an encouraging sign for a team that looks like it will spend the rest of this year looking forward, and Jose Suarez bounced back from a rough start with 5.2 solid innings.

All in all, one of the better nights the Angels have had recently. We’ll see if they can follow it up tomorrow with Shohei Ohtani on the mound.

Top 7: The Angels broke the game wide open, putting up a four-spot in the seventh. A series of walks and base hits loaded the bases and scored the first two runs. A throwing error on a double play ball by Jose Iglesias scored two more before Brett Martin worked his way out of the inning, but the damage was done by then.

End 6: Texas cut into the lead with a two-run home run off the bat of Andy Ibañez to make it 6-3. Joe Maddon pulled Jose Suarez one batter later, but Junior Guerra finished off the inning, inducing a pop-out from Curtis Terry.

Top 6: It looked like the Rangers had gotten out of trouble after throwing Jose Iglesias out at the plate on a Brandon Marsh double. Then Jack Mayfield hit a two-run home run to make it 6-1.

That knocked Rangers starter Jordan Lyles from the game and now the Angels take a five-run lead into the latter part of the game with Jose Suarez pitching well.

Top 5: Another RBI for Phil Gosselin, as he knocks in Shohei Ohtani with a single. Gosselin was thrown out at second trying to advance as Ohtani went home to end the inning, so at the halfway point of this game it’s 4-1 Angels.

Top 3: Jo Adell got his first hit of the season and it was a big one. Adell took an 0-1 curveball into left field for a two-run, go-ahead double to give the Angels a 3-1 lead.

Prior to that, Phil Gosselin had beaten out an infield single with two outs to score David Fletcher from third. Fletcher opened the inning with a single, then advanced with his second stolen base of the game and went to third on a wild pitch.

End 2: The Rangers scored the game’s first run after D.J. Peters scored from first on a Curtis Terry base hit. Brandon Marsh attempted a diving catch on the fly ball to center, but missed it, allowing Peters the opportunity to score. Marsh was slow to get up, but stayed in the game and seemed to be alright.

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Maddon hopeful Walsh will return on time

Jared Walsh took about 10 swings in the batting cage on Monday and didn’t feel any issues with his right intercostal strain, Joe Maddon said before Tuesday’s game.

Walsh is currently on the 10-day IL and could return by the beginning of next week, Maddon said.

“He’s doing well,” Maddon said. “The swings without feeling anything at all is a positive thing.”

As for the Angels’ other injuries, the only news on Tuesday was that the team has not discussed shutting down Mike Trout for the rest of the season.

Despite that, it’s not yet clear when Trout will return.

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Jo Adell to start in right field on Tuesday

After the Angels’ plans to start Jo Adell on Monday hit a snag when his flight from Albuquerque was cancelled, the 22-year old is in the lineup on Tuesday, hitting sixth and playing right field.

Adell, who played 38 games with the Angels last year, is making his Major League debut for 2021. In 73 games with Triple-A Salt Lake City, Adell slashed .289/.342/.592 with 23 home runs. He struggled with the Angels in 2020, hitting just .161 with a .478 OPS, which he put down to the circumstances in which last season was played.

This year, he said, he learned to pick and choose his spots at the plate, leading to more success.

“There’s gonna be guys that are gonna come in, you’re not gonna be able to capitalize on every pitch that they throw,” Adell said. “But the ones that are close that you think you can handle, you try to do the damage to those. So having my mindset at a spot where I`'m thinking about that, thinking about what I’m trying to do on this pitch.”

With Adell, Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez all getting call-ups since the trade deadline, the Angels’ season seems to have entered into a new phase, focused on youth.

“It’s exciting,” Adell said. “There’s a lot of talent here. Definitely gonna be something moving forward.”

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Chris Rodriguez pitches well, gets little support in Angels’ loss to Rangers

Angels shortstop José Iglesias catches a throw as the Texas Rangers' Isiah Kiner-Falefa steals second base.
Angels shortstop José Iglesias catches a throw as the Rangers’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa steals second base in the fifth inning Monday night. Brock Holt stole home on the play.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

The devil was in the details for the Angels in Monday night’s 4-1 loss to the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Sure, their pitchers held Texas to five hits, but smart baserunning and situational hitting put runs on the board for the Rangers. Sure, the Angels’ hitters made consistent contact, but perfect defensive placement and technique allowed the Rangers to thwart threats. Sure, Chris Rodriguez, making his first major league start, was dominant at times in racking up seven strikeouts in six-plus innings, but three earned runs made it onto his ledger.

Monday’s game simply slipped out of their grasp. With the Angels (52-54) now 7½ games back of the second American League wild-card slot, their season might follow suit.

“Let’s just hopefully morph it all together real quickly and get on some kind of a winning streak, which we really need to do,” manager Joe Maddon said after the game.

In the meantime, the Angels have called up young talent from triple A, including outfielder Jo Adell, their top prospect, on Monday. Maddon, however, made it clear that the youth influx didn’t signify a waving of the white flag.

“You don’t want to waste opportunity to give opportunity to guys like this right now under the circumstances,” he said.

Rodriguez got his opportunity Monday night. He made the most of it.

Operating under a restricted pitch count, Rodriguez was efficient throughout, inducing first-pitch out after first-pitch out and frequently getting Texas hitters to chase offerings below the zone.

He looked nothing like a 23-year-old who had started all of two games at the triple-A level and none in the majors, appearing in 13 games in relief for the Angels this season. Rodriguez exudes self-confidence, Maddon said, and that was apparent in his demeanor.

“When I’m a starter, I feel like I’m in control of the game,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like the team is on my back, and I like that feeling.”

He ran into a couple of jams, however, that not even his 95-mph power sinker could save him from. In the second inning, his curveball tipped off catcher Max Stassi’s glove to bring in the Rangers’ Andy Ibañez, whom Rodriguez had hit with a pitch. Twenty-five of Rodriguez’s 86 pitches came in the second inning.

In the fifth inning of a 1-1 game, with two outs and Brock Holt on third base, Texas’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa dashed to second. Stassi fired a throw to the bag, but Kiner-Falefa slid in safely, enabling Holt to dash home for a steal and the go-ahead run. Maddon said Stassi got a signal mixed up and that he wanted him to simply hold the ball.

Even with all that, Rodriguez had given up just one earned run across six innings. But two quick hits knocked him out of the game in the seventh with no outs, and Holt’s sacrifice fly and Kiner-Falefa’s RBI single pushed the Rangers’ lead to 4-1 and slapped two more earned runs onto the young pitcher’s tally.

The Angels’ hitters, meanwhile, went silent after Juan Lagares tapped a ground ball to shortstop in the fourth to score Phil Gosselin. José Iglesias then hit a line drive that looked destined to land in left field and score Stassi from second for the lead, but shortstop Kiner-Falefa reached up to snag the ball for the final out of the inning.

Incredible defensive plays like that one were routine for the Rangers’ infield. They swallowed several well-hit ground balls that could have gotten into the outfield and ignited momentum for the Angels.

Instead, the Angels’ offense had just three hits and a run to show for its efforts. In the Angels’ last five games, they have scored a total of five runs and looked nothing like the team that has averaged more than 4½ per game most of the season.

“We just stopped hitting,” Maddon said. “All of a sudden, we are a much better pitching and defensive team and we’re not hitting like we have.”

Maddon seemed unconcerned, however, about the Angels’ offensive struggles. They could come back Tuesday and score 12 runs, he said.

Perhaps the addition of Adell to the lineup — he didn’t play Monday night — could provide a jump-start. Maddon said that moving forward, the team would be “maneuvering” between outfielders Justin Upton and Adam Eaton with Adell opposite them and Brandon Marsh in center field.

This roster as a whole — with Adell, Marsh, Rodriguez, Sunday’s starter Reid Detmers and reliever Austin Warren — is suddenly chock full of youngsters. And while the Angels might still be playing to win this year, they’re also starting to play for next year.

“To go through these next two months and not fully evaluate what you have gives you no vision of the offseason and next year,” Maddon said.

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Angels vs. Rangers: Angels fall to the Rangers, 4-1

Bottom 2nd — Chris Rodriguez began his first MLB start with a 1-2-3 inning, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the second when Rangers second baseman Andy Ibanez scored from third on a passed ball by catcher Max Stassi. Rightfielder Adam Eaton, however, kept the score at 1-0 Texas with a terrific diving catch to end the inning.

Top of the 4th — The Angels get on the board, thanks to an RBI groundout from Juan Lagares to score Phil Gosselin. The game is tied 1-1 headed into the bottom of the 4th.

Bottom of the 4th — Outside of some blemishes in the second inning, Chris Rodriguez has been spectacular tonight, firing four strikeouts and just 52 pitches through four innings. Angels manager Joe Maddon said Rodriguez will be capped at 90 pitches tonight, but Rodriguez is managing to work deep into this game despite that limit.

Bottom of the 5th — The Rangers execute a double steal with two outs to score Brock Holt, who hit a double earlier in the inning. Texas now leads 2-1 entering the sixth inning.

Bottom of the 6th — Chris Rodriguez continues to roll, striking out two Rangers in the sixth inning to bring his game tally to seven. Rangers still lead 2-1, however, as the Angels have struggled to offer him support.

Bottom of the 7th — The Rangers extend their lead to 4-1 after a Brock Holt sacrifice fly and an Isiah Kiner-Falefa single each knock in runs. Both were credited to Chris Rodriguez, who was taken out earlier in the inning and ended his night with three earned runs allowed in six innings.

Top of the 9th — The Rangers seal a 4-1 win, holding the Angels to just three hits.

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Joe Maddon says it’s right time to start triple-A call-up Chris Rodriguez

For the second straight game, the Angels will go with a pitcher who has never started a major league game.

After top prospect Reid Detmers took the mound Sunday against the Oakland Athletics, fellow triple-A call-up Chris Rodriguez will draw the start tonight against the Texas Rangers.

Rodriguez, who has pitched in 13 games with a 3.66 ERA this season in relief for the Angels, will be capped at 90 pitches, Angels manager Joe Maddon said before Monday’s game.

Now in the season’s final third and with the Angels sitting seven games back of the second American League wild-card spot, the back-to-back starts of Detmers and Rodriguez appear to signal a push down the stretch to continue developing young talent.

Maddon said he had been in talks with Angels general manager Perry Minasian for a “little bit of time” about having Rodriguez start and that Minasian believed the pitcher would be “ready to do it.”

“We’re at that point, organizationally right now, I think it’s the right time to give opportunity to young players like this,” Maddon said.

Rodriguez was optioned to double-A Rocket City in late June but was promoted after five starts to Salt Lake. In the minor leagues this season, he carries a 4.87 ERA across eight games and seven starts.

Maddon said left-hander Jose Suarez will start tomorrow night against the Rangers. Shohei Ohtani, who hasn’t taken the mound since July 26 after a foul ball struck his pitching thumb in the dugout last Wednesday, is “a candidate” to start Wednesday, Maddon said.

The Angels’ manager didn’t have any update on the injury status of star center fielder Mike Trout, who has been out since May because of a calf injury.

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Angels recall outfielder Jo Adell with hope he can build on triple-A success

Angels center fielder Jo Adell throws during a spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Angels outfielder Jo Adell throws during a spring-training game March 4 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

The Angels’ longtime darling prospect, after a less-than-ideal beginning to his major league career, is making his return.

The team announced Monday afternoon that outfielder Jo Adell has been recalled from triple A, along with tonight’s starter Chris Rodriguez.

Adell, who has long been at or near the top of both the Angels’ and the major leagues’ prospect rankings, hit just .161 in 124 at-bats in 2020. According to Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement metric, he graded as the worst position player in the league in his debut season.

He will now have a chance to bounce back down the stretch of this season, as manager Joe Maddon indicated in comments before Monday night’s game that the Angels would be affording more opportunity to young players moving forward.

The Angels likely hope his success with the Salt Lake Bees this season — tearing up triple A with an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .934 and 23 home runs — will carry over to the next level. He will join fellow prospect Brandon Marsh among outfielders on the Angels’ active roster, in addition to veterans Justin Upton, Juan Lagares and Adam Eaton.

As part of Monday’s announced call-ups, infielder Matt Thaiss was sent back to triple A, from which he had just been called up Wednesday.

He didn’t have much of a chance to prove himself, collecting a hit in just six at-bats, but made an impression on Maddon. Thaiss struggled during a brief stint in the majors in 2020, and the manager said his swing looked “100% better” than last season.

“This guy’s a tough guy with a high baseball IQ,” Maddon said. “Here’s a guy that’s waiting on opportunity, and I promise you he never, ever, ever makes an excuse. And I love that.”

Adell will not start tonight’s game. Marsh, Lagares and Eaton will man the outfield against the Rangers.

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Angels vs. Rangers betting odds for Monday

The Angels start a four-game series against the Rangers at 5:05 p.m. PT Monday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

DraftKings sportsbooks, which is licensed in eight states, has the Angels as -140 home favorites (implied odds of winning at 58.3%).

Dane Dunning (4-7, 4.20 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) gets the start for Texas. The Angels are 2-0 against him this season as they got to him for four runs in five innings in a 4-3 win in Arlington on April 28 and seven runs in four innings in a 9-8 win on May 26 in Anaheim.

The Angels are also -130 series favorites to win at least three of the four games (2-2 is a push with all bets refunded).

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