The Los Angeles Angels will host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif., in the final game of the three-game Freeway Series, hoping that the recent emergence of third baseman Anthony Rendon is not too late in this shortened season.
Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels in the offseason, but he did not get off to a good start. An oblique injury kept him out of the first four games, and then once he began playing, he slumped.
Rendon had just four hits across 39 at-bats in 12 games, with no home runs. But on Aug. 10, his fortunes seemed to turn on a dime.
In his last five games, Rendon is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with four homers, six RBIs, five walks and six runs scored. Two of his outs in a 1-for-4 showing Saturday against the Dodgers were lineouts, as he continues to hit the ball hard.
“He looks good, and it’s going to continue to trend upward,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He says he’s feeling good in the box, and it’s gonna keep getting better, so not a surprise to me at all. I’ve seen it.”
As much as the Angels expected more from Rendon, offense hasn’t been the problem for the club. They rank 11th out of 30 teams in the majors in runs scored (101) — and three-time MVP Mike Trout has a whopping eight homers in 11 August games — but they rank just 21st in ERA (4.61).
The Angels’ other major free agent signing was right-hander Julio Teheran (0-1, 13.50 ERA), who will start Sunday’s game after similarly getting off to a slow start. Teheran tested positive for COVID-19, reported late to summer camp and didn’t make his first start of the season until Aug. 5.
In his two starts, he’s failed to last as long as three innings, giving up a total of seven runs on seven hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Maddon said he thinks Teheran just isn’t quite ready physically because of his abbreviated camp. But Teheran won’t use it as an excuse.
“I don’t feel that’s an excuse I need to take into every game,” Teheran said. “I feel like there’s stuff I need to be working on, and I prefer to be working on it at this level, facing the big league hitters. That’s how I’m going to realize when all my pitches are working.”
In his career against the Dodgers, all while pitching for the Atlanta Braves, Teheran has not fared well — he’s 0-6 with a 5.33 ERA in eight starts.
Dustin May (1-1, 2.75 ERA) will start for the Dodgers, who won 7-6 in 10 innings on Saturday night, with Trout striking out for the game’s final out.
May has never faced the Angels, but he won’t be an unknown to his opponents, as he is already building a reputation for himself.
He started for the Dodgers on Opening Day to replace an injured Clayton Kershaw, and in his four starts this season has not allowed more than two runs in any game.
“The stuff speaks for itself,” Kershaw said. “The stuff is right up there with the best in the game, and once he starts honing it in a little bit … he’s going to be good. He’s going to be good for sure.”
May is coming off his only loss of the season, last Monday against the San Diego Padres, but he gave up only two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings.
–Field Level Media