Thursday, February 22, 2024
5-Hour Energy

MLB Preview: Los Angeles Angels (69-84) at Minnesota Twins (81-72)

LOS ANGELES ANGELS NOTES:

LEADING OFF: Today, the Angels play the fourth (1-2) of six games on the final road trip of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays (1-2) and Minnesota Twins (Sept. 22-24)…Halos went 0-3 on last homestand against Detroit…LAA was 1-2 on last road trip at Seattle.

BACK IN THE BIGS: Today the Angels recalled RHP Davis Daniel from Triple-A Salt Lake…He is scheduled to make his second career appearance for the Halos as today’s bulk pitcher…Daniel pitched 3.0 scoreless innings in his MLB Debut on Sept. 7 vs. Cleveland… In a corresponding roster move, LHP Aaron Loup (left shoulder strain) has been placed on the 15-day injured list (retro to Sept. 20).

SCHANUEL’S STREAKS: Nolan Schanuel has reached base safely in each of his first 24 MLB games, which is the longest streak to start a career in Angels history and the longest such streak in MLB since Rocco Baldelli reached safely in his first 24 career games for the 2003 Devil Rays…Schanuel also set a franchise record with a 10-game hit streak to begin his MLB career.

GETTING ON: Nolan Schanuel has reached base (via H, BB, or HBP) 47 times, which is a new franchise record through 24 career games (Darin Erstad had reached 46 times in his first 24 games in 1996)…Club record through 25 games is 50 times on base by Erstad).

GRICH HITS: Randal Grichuk has compiled a .323 (21/65) batting average since Aug. 29 in 19 total games played…He had a 10 game hit streak from Sept. 3-12 and a 14 game hit streak as a starter from Aug. 29 – Sept. 17…The 14-game streak as a starter tied his career high (also had a 14-game streak for the Rockies spanning the final two games of the 2022 season and first 12 games this year).

THE INJURED LIST: Angels currently have 16 players on the injured list and have used the IL a total of 39 times this year for 33 different players. CAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR: Inland Empire’s Jadiel Sanchez has been selected as the DH for the California League All-Star team.

THE OPENER: LHP José Suarez is scheduled as today’s Opener for the Angels in what will be his first start since May 7 vs. Texas…He earned the win in his only previous start against the Twins on Sept. 25, 2022 at Target Field (W; 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO).

VS. MINNESOTA: Angels lead the season series 2-1 after taking two of three contests at Angel Stadium from May 19-21…Since 2021, the Angels are 11-5 vs. Minnesota.

ROOKIE BACKSTOP: Logan O’Hoppe has hit 11 home runs this season, including seven since his return from the IL last month…Only Bengie Molina (14 HR in 2000) had more in a season by an Angels rookie catcher.

HOME RUN LEADERS: Angels lead the American League lead and rank third in the Majors with 221 home runs this season…Only the Braves (293) and
Dodgers (238) have homered more…The Halos 221 homers are the second-most in a season in franchise history…Club record is 236 HR in 2000.

WINS AND LOSSES: With 84 losses on the season, Angels will finish below .500 for an eighth consecutive season, which is the longest streak in franchise history (previously did so in seven straight campaigns from 1971-77).

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER – LHP JOSÉ SUAREZ 1-3, 9.33 ERA
Making first start for Angels since May 7 vs. Texas

Today marks ninth appearance (seventh start) of the season and first start since May 7 vs. Texas.

  • Reinstated from injured list Sept. 11 after missing 109 games (left shoulder strain) and joined Angels bullpen…Has made two appearances in relief since return from IL, allowing two earned runs in 2.2 innings of work.
  • VS. MINNESOTA: In two career games (one start) vs. Twins, is 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA (7.2 IP – 3 ER) and nine strikeouts…Earned the win in only
    previous start vs. Twins on Sept. 25, 2022 (W; 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO)…Also worked 2.0 innings in relief vs. Twins on May 20, 2021 in
    second game of a doubleheader at Angel Stadium (2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO).
  • AT TARGET FIELD: Has made one previous appearance at Target Field, and is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA (5.2 IP – 2 ER) following his start on Sept. 25, 2022.
  • Began year in Angels rotation and made six starts going 1-2 with a 9.62 ERA (24.1 – 26 ER) before being placed on IL on May 8.
  • Pitched in two rehab games with ACL Angels July 18 and 24…Went 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA (3.1 IP – 1 ER) and recorded four strikeouts.
  • Since 2021, is 4-2 with a 2.21 ERA (36.2 IP – 9 ER) and 37 strikeouts in 13 games as a reliever.
  • Last season, pitched in 22 games (20 starts) for Angels and went 8-8 with a 3.96 ERA (109 IP – 48 ER) and 103 strikeouts.
  • Carried a perfect game through 5.1 innings in home start on Aug. 16, 2022 vs. Seattle, before allowing four consecutive singles and exiting the game.
  • Native of Naguanagua, Venezuela…Signed with Angels as an international free agent July 3, 2014.
  • Last Outing: 9/16 vs. DET (1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) Holds: 1 Saves/Opps: –

MINNESOTA TWINS NOTES:

THE TWINS: Went 5-2 on their seven-game road-trip, winning three of four at Chicago-AL last weekend and two of three games in Cincy earlier this week…tonight, the Twins will begin their final homestand of 2023 with the first of three games against the Angels over the weekend…after an off-day on Monday, they will host the Athletics for three games from Tuesday-Thursday…the Twins have gone 43-32 at home and 38-40 on the road, winning 12 of their last 20 games at Target Field. The Twins are a season-high nine games over .500, reaching their high-water mark of 2023 following their win in Cincinnati on Wednesday…a win today would make them 10 games over for the first time since July 5, 2022 (47-37).

COMEBACK IN CINCY: The Twins scored five runs in the final three innings on Wednesday to defeat the Reds by a score of 5-3 at Great American Ball Park, securing the series victory and marking Minnesota’s 39th comeback win of the season…Bailey Ober started and took a no-decision, allowing two runs on three hits in 5.0 innings pitched, with three walks and three strikeouts…the offense recorded nine hits, including two hits from Willi Castro and Christian Vázquez…six of the Twins’ nine hits came off the Cincinnati bullpen after Reds starter Hunter Greene struck out a career-high 14 batters in 7.0 innings pitched…Castro hit his ninth home run of the season, hitting homers in back-to-back games for the third time in his career…Jorge Polanco’s two-run, tie-breaking single in the top of the ninth proved to be the game-winning hit…Twins improved to 5-61 when trailing after eight innings.

ONE WAY OR ANOTHER: Minnesota enters tonight at 81-72 with an 8.5-game lead over Cleveland (73-81) and a 9.0-game lead on Detroit (73-81)…the Twins’ magic number to win the American League Central is one; either a Minnesota victory tonight or losses by Cleveland (at BAL) and Detroit (at OAK) will clinch the division title…below is a brief look at the Twins, Guardians and Tigers.

W-L GB LAST RESULT TONIGHT
Minnesota 81-72 – – Won at CIN, 5-3 (Wed) vs. LAA (López vs. Daniel)
Cleveland 73-81 8.5 Won at BAL, 5-2 (Thurs) at BAL (Bieber vs. Kremer)
Detroit 72-81 9.0 Won at Oak, 7-3 (Thurs) at OAK (Gipson-Long vs. Waldichuk)

LEW OUT, LU IN: The Twins have placed infielder Royce Lewis on the 10-day Injured List with a left hamstring strain…Lewis left Tuesday night’s game at Cincinnati after experiencing pain in his left hamstring during an at-bat in the eighth inning…in his last 26 games, since August 23, Lewis hit 11 home runs with 35 RBI and a 1.051 OPS…to replace Lewis on the 28-man roster, the Twins have recalled outfielder/first baseman Jordan Luplow.

CALLING ALL ANGELS: Tonight marks the fourth of six meetings with the Angels this season… Los Angeles-AL took two of three from the Twins in Anaheim from May 19-21, winning the series opener and series finale…Twins are just 5-11 vs. the Angels since the start of 2021, including 2-5 at Target Field. Max Kepler owns an .876 OPS in 34 career games against Los Angeles-AL, hitting .279 (31-for-111) with five doubles, six home runs, 12 RBI, 17 walks, 21 runs scored and a .486 slugging percentage. Willi Castro has hit safely in his last 12 games vs. the Angels since August 17, 2021, batting .298 (14-for-47) with three doubles, three home runs, six RBI, six runs scored and an .893 OPS in that span.

LOSE PERSONAL FRIENDS: The Angels have several former Twins on their current 28-man roster, Injured List and coaching staff: Eduardo Escobar spent parts of seven seasons with Minnesota from 2012-18…batted .258 (575-for-2,228) with 138 doubles, 63 home runs and 284 RBI in 671 games for the Twins… became the first switch hitter in Twins history (1961-) to hit 30 doubles in consecutive seasons (35 in 2014, 31 in 2015). C.J. Cron hit 25 homers for the Bomba Squad in 2019, his only season in Minnesota…also hit 24 doubles and drove in 78 runs. Gio Urshela spent the 2022 season with the Twins, tying for the team lead in games played with 144 (also, Luis Arraez)…hit .285 (143-for-501) with 13 home runs and 64 RBI…currently on 60-day Injured List (left pelvis fracture). Drew Butera made his major league debut with the Twins in 2010 and played in four seasons for Minnesota…caught Francisco Liriano’s no-hitter on May 3, 2011…currently serving as Los Angeles-AL’s catching coach.

LET’S PARTY LIKE IT’S 2010: The Twins are looking to secure a playoff berth for the 15th time in club history (since 1961)…below are the final results from previous postseasons:

YEAR CLINCHED FINISHED POSTSEASON YEAR CLINCHED FINISHED POSTSEASON
1965……………..AL (102-60) ……………….Lost 4-3 to LAD in WS 2006…………… AL-C (96-66) ……………….Swept in 3 by OAK in ALDS
1969……………..AL-W (97-65)……………..Swept in 3 by BAL in ALCS 2009…………… AL-C (87-76) ……………….Swept in 3 by NYY in ALDS
1970……………..AL-W (98-64)……………..Swept in 3 by BAL in ALCS 2010…………… AL-C (94-68) ……………….Swept in 3 by NYY in ALDS
1987……………..AL-W (85-77)……………..Beat STL 4-3 in WS 2017…………… AL-WC (85-77)……………..Lost 8-4 in 1 game at NYY
1991……………..AL-W (95-67)……………..Beat ATL 4-3 in WS 2019…………… AL-C (101-61) ……………..Swept in 3 by NYY in ALDS
2002……………..AL-C (94-67)………………Lost 4-1 to ANA in ALCS 2020…………… AL-C (36-24) ……………….Swept in 2 by HOU in ALWCS
2003……………..AL-C (90-72)………………Lost 3-1 to NYY in ALDS 2023……………- -………………………………- – 2004……………..AL-C (92-70)………………Lost 3-1 to NYY in ALDS

NOTE: If the Twins clinch during this homestand, it will mark the first time they have secured a playoff berth in front of their home crowd since 2010…in 2017, the Twins lost 2-4 in Cleveland but hung around the Progressive Field visiting clubhouse waiting for the White Sox to defeat the Angels…in 2019, the Twins defeated Detroit 5-1 but waited in the Comerica Park visiting clubhouse for the White Sox to defeat Cleveland…in 2020, the Twins lost to the Reds 3-5 as the White Sox also lost to the Cubs, but considering the Pandemic, there were no fans in attendance.

ADDITIONALLY: ALL-TIME AL CENTRAL DIVISION WINNERS: CLE – 11, MIN – 8, CWS – 5, DET – 4, KC – 1

CASTRO CRUSHING: Willi Castro hit his ninth home run of the season on Wednesday, tying his single-season career high (9 in 2021)… has set career highs in walks (27) and stolen bases (32), and his 18 doubles are tied for his single-season career high (18 in 2022)…is the first Twins hitter since Chuck Knoblauch in 1997 (9 HR, 62 SB) with at least nine home runs and 30 steals in a season…only Castro, Knoblauch (thrice), Rod Carew (twice), Cesar Tovar (twice) and Larry Hisle (once) have recorded seasons with at least nine homers and 30 steals with Minnesota…Castro is hitting .310 (18-for-58) with three doubles, one triple, four home runs, eight RBI, a .349 on-base percentage, a .603 slugging percentage and a .953 OPS in his last 15 games.

STARTING PITCHER – #49 PABLO LóPEZ
2023: 10-8, 3.58 ERA CAREER: 38-39, 3.84 ERA

Making his 31st start and appearance and 15th home start of 2023…also his 125th career appearance (all starts) in his sixth major league season (Miami – 2018-22). Facing Los Angeles-AL for the second time this season/in his career…took the loss despite recording a quality start on May 21 at Angel Stadum in a 4-2 Twins’ defeat (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 9 K). Acquired by the Twins from Miami on January 20, 2023, along with infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio, in exchange for infielder/outfielder Luis Arraez.

LAST TIME OUT: Took the loss on September 16 at Chicago-AL in the Twins’ 7-6 defeat…allowed five runs on eight hits (2 HR) in 5.0 innings pitched, with no walks and eight strikeouts…yielded all five runs in the first inning on three singles, a two-run homer by Eloy Jiménez and a three-run homer by Gavin Sheets…retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced from the second through the fifth with six strikeouts…relieved by Josh Winder in the sixth inning with Minnesota trailing 5-1; Twins rallied for five runs in the last two innings but fell short in the third game of the four-game series. Allowed multiple homers for the sixth time this year and first since July 25 vs. Seattle (also 2 HR). The five-run first inning was the most runs he has allowed in a single inning since he yielded five runs to Cleveland in the sixth inning on June 1 at Target Field. Has 22 strikeouts without issuing a walk in his last two starts…only ARI’s Zac Gallen (23, April 21-26) has recorded more strikeouts without walking a batter in a two-game span this year.

TWO STARTS AGO: Struck out a career-high 14 batters but did not factor into the decision on September 10 vs. New York-NL, a 2-0 Twins’ loss at Target Field…pitched 8.0 scoreless innings, allowed just two hits and did not issue a walk on a season-high 106 pitches…recorded his 200th strikeout of 2023 in the first inning (F. Lindor), becoming the eighth Venezuelan-born pitcher in American League/National League history (1901-)to achieve the feat…allowed a leadoff single to Brandon Nimmo in the first and a one-out single to Francisco Alvarez in the third; retired 17 of the final 19 batters he faced after the Alvarez single…Mets scored twice off Griffin Jax in the top of the ninth to take the series finale. His 14 strikeouts were the most by a Twins pitcher since Francisco Liriano struck out 15 on July 13, 2012 vs. Oakland. Became third pitcher in Twins history (1961-) to strike out at least 14 batters without issuing a walk, joining Bert Blyleven (14 K on September 24, 1986 vs. Kansas City) and Johan Santana (14 K on September 19, 2004 vs. Baltimore; franchise-high 17 K on August 19, 2007 vs. Texas).

REELIN’ IN THE STRIKEOUTS: Ranks second in the American League with 221 strikeouts this year (TOR’s Kevin Gausman – 232)…owns the highest single-season strikeout total by a Twin since Johan Santana struck out 235 in 2007…tied with Camilo Pascual’s 1961 season for the 11th-most strikeouts by a Twin in club history (since 1961); next up is a trio of Bert Blyleven seasons (10th – 224 in 1971; 9th – 228 in 1972; 8th – 233 in 1975)…has a 10.83 strikeouts-per-9.0-innings ratio in 2023, the highest single-season ratio in Twins history (1961-) among qualified pitchers.

LÓPEZ VS. LAA: Facing the Angels for the second time this season…recorded a quality start but took the loss on May 21 at Angel Stadium in the Twins’ 4-2 defeat; pitched 6.0 innings and allowed two runs on five hits, with three walks and nine strikeouts…held Los Angeles-AL to one run through 6.0 innings, then allowed a tie-breaking two-run double to Mickey Moniak in the bottom of the seventh… marked his first career start vs. the Angels. Seeking his first win against an American League West opponent this year…is 0-2, 5.65 ERA (28.2 IP, 18 ER) in five starts vs. the AL West in 2023, with the Twins going 2-3 in those starts.

FINDING HIS TARGET: Making his fifth home start in his last seven outings today…is 4-3, 4.09 ERA (88.0 IP, 40 ER) with 23 walks and 110 strikeouts in 14 home starts in 2023…Twins are 9-5 in his 14 starts at Target Field…here are his numbers in his last eight home starts compared to his first six:

STATISTIC LAST 8 HOME GS FIRST 6 HOME GS
ERA ………………………………………………………. 2.73 …………………………………………………………. 6.11
Quality Starts…………………………………………… 6 ……………………………………………………………….. 2
Walks-per-9.0 Innings……………………………… 1.88 …………………………………………………………. 3.06
WHIP……………………………………………………… 1.08 …………………………………………………………. 1.30

PITCH BREAKDOWN: Has used a five-pitch mix in 2023, per Baseball Savant…has primarily used his sweeper and sinker against right-handed hitters, favoring his changeup and curveball against left-handed hitters…opposing hitters went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against his sweeper in his last start on September 16 at Chicago-AL…here is a look at his 2023 arsenal:

PITCH (AVG. MPH) PCT. (# OF PITCHES, VS. RHB/LHB) RESULTS
4-Seam Fastball (94.9)………….35.1% (1,003 pitches, 429/574).. .256 (57-for-223), 13 2B, 10 HR, 85 K Sweeper (84.4)…………………….. 20.9% (597 pitches, 411/186).. .177 (25-for-141), 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 53 K Changeup (88.3)…………………..20.9% (596 pitches, 204/392).. .263 (45-for-171), 5 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 40 K Curveball (82.5)……………………. 12.9% (368 pitches, 91/277) … .200 (18-for-90), 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 38 K Sinker (94.4) ………………………….10.3% (293 pitches, 288/5)……. .296 (21-for-71), 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 K

CUTTING TO THE CHASE: Owns a career-high 34.3 chase percentage in 2023, placing him in the 95th percentile in baseball, per Baseball Savant…his chase rate ranks first on the Twins staff and 18th in MLB.

MR. RIGHT: Has limited right-handed hitters to a .209 (71-for-340) batting average this year… his 122 strikeouts against righties are the sixth most in the American League in 2023 and his .209 opponent batting average vs. righties ranks fifth in the AL (min. 20 GS)…righties went 6-for-15 with one home run (E. Jiménez) and four strikeouts against him in his last start on September 16 at Chicago-AL…left-handed hitters are batting .266 (95-for-357) against him in 2023, going 2-for-7 with one home run (Gavin Sheets) and four strikeouts off him in his last outing. AHas better career numbers against righties (.648 OPS) than lefties (.746 OPS).

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