Los Angeles Angels Opening Day Takeaways

Los Angeles Angels Opening Day Takeaways

With Opening Day comes hope, optimism, and excitement for a new year of baseball. The Angels kicked off the 2024 season in Baltimore to face the Orioles, who won 101 games last season and are poised to flirt with 100 wins again this year. The Angels, on the other hand, are coming off a 73-win season and the departure of Shohei Ohtani. It was a disastrous start to the season for the Angels, losing 11-3. One-game sample sizes are never worth reading into in a 162-game season, but here are some takeaways from Opening Day.

Pitching

Left-handed pitcher Patrick Sandoval got the nod for his first career Opening Day start. Things did not go Sandoval’s way due to a combination of poor command, errors and an array of softly hit singles that fell in the shallow outfield. Sandoval only surrendered one hard-hit ball and it was a sharp single up the middle to score a pair of runs in the second inning that clocked in at a 99.7 mile-per-hour exit velocity. The biggest issue Sandoval had was his command. Only 45% of his pitches were in the zone, according to Statcast and he threw 36 strikes out of his 60 total pitches. He threw his changeup the most today, with 17 of them but six of them were for strikes and three of them were put in play. Falling behind in counts has always been a struggle for Sandoval in his career and some Opening Day nerves could have made it more apparent today. His final line was 1.2 innings of work, six hits, five runs, three earned runs, two walks and two strikeouts.

Left-handed pitcher José Suarez relieved Sandoval in the second inning and pitched 3.2 innings giving up three runs, all earned, on two hits, two strikeouts, and a walk. Suarez only gave up two hits, but had some loud outs mixed in. He had 11 balls put in play and five of them were hit hard.

Right-hander José Cisnero then came in and struggled, only lasting two-thirds of an inning while surrendering three runs, all earned, on two hits and two walks. Cisnero had good command of his fastball but not with his other pitches. Cisnero also only induced one swing and miss in 33 total pitches.

Right-hander Guillermo Zuñiga came in relief with no outs in the seventh inning after Cisnero gave up a home run to Cedric Mullins and pitched a scoreless inning with a walk and a strikeout. Zuñiga only had two balls put in play but they were both hit hard with a ground ball hit 99.1 miles per hour and a 96.7 mile per hour exit velocity on a flyout.

Finally, Adam Cimber threw a quick and clean seven-pitch eighth inning.

Hitting

The offense was noticeably quiet for the Halos, only getting two hits and striking out 14 times. Mike Trout kicked off his season with a home run on a Corbin Burnes slider in the lower outside portion of the zone in the first inning, but the next Angels hit had to wait until a Luis Rengifo double to lead off the eighth inning. Nolan Schanuel continued his on-base streak to start his young MLB career after Rengifo’s double with a walk to push the streak to 30 games. Logan O’Hoppe walked to load the bases and Zach Neto hit a groundball to Gunnar Henderson, who flipped it to second for the out, but Jorge Mateo threw the ball away to allow two runs to score.

Corbin Burnes is one of the better pitchers in the game for a reason and he proved it by keeping the Angels hitters off-balance all game with his cutter that touched the upper 90s in velocity and keeping his curveball on his arm-side corner of the strike zone.

Jack Janes

Journalism major at the University of La Verne. Played college baseball at Fullerton College and the University of La Verne. Also write for Inside The Rink.

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