Anderson, Angels cruise to victory over Rangers in series opener

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Angels tallied 14 hits as they rolled to victory in their first game against a division opponent this season.

Halos’ starter Tyler Anderson conceded just two hits while eight of nine batters in the Los Angeles lineup recorded a hit as the Angels secured a 9-3 win at Globe Life Field on Friday evening.

It was the second win in a row for Anderson, who has bounced back recently from a four-game losing streak. It was his sixth quality start throughout nine appearances this season. He tossed 96 pitches on the day, 56 of which were strikes. He would not allow a hit for the rest of his start after the second inning.

The bats were alive and well, with the only Angel failing to record a hit being Nolan Schanuel (0-6). Willie Calhoun went 4-5 with an RBI, allowing him to reach safely in 10 of his first 13 games with the team so far. Taylor Ward and Zach Neto both finished 2-5, with each adding a home run.

After going 4-3 at Globe Life Field last season, Los Angeles started things off the right way again in 2024. They have now won their last two games and will look to clinch a series victory in the next game. The Rangers have now lost five of their last six and dropped back to .500 at 23-23.

Here are three takeaways:

Tyler Anderson dominates

Making his fourth career start at Globe Life Field, the 34-year-old southpaw was magnificent. After allowing a Jonah Heim solo home run and a Josh Smith double in the bottom of the second, he would go flawless the rest of the way. He finished his afternoon with seven innings pitched, four strikeouts and just one run allowed.

It was just the second time this year that Anderson has allowed two hits or less in a start. The win, which was his fourth this season, now leads the team. His ERA, which is down to 2.72, is also first place on the squad.

His efforts helped to hold Texas to just one at-bat all game with runners in scoring position, which was a second-inning flyout from Leody Taveras. It was the fourth time this season that he has pitched at least seven innings. That’s good enough for the second-most of such starts in the American League this season. After starting the year 2-0, he fell to 2-4 and has now bounced back to 4-4. While the Angels could certainly use some more consistency, it’s promising to see Anderson deliver a dominant start and lead the team to victory against a division rival.

Neto, Ward provide the power

In an all-around effort from the Angels lineup, the duo each had a home run and combined for three RBI in the game. Ward finished 2-5 and reached base three times, blasting his ninth home run of the season in the top of the sixth inning.

He finished the game in strong fashion after starting 0-3. Now hitting .273, Ward is second on the team in batting average and home runs. He is going to be relied on going forward to supply the power in the Los Angeles lineup with Mike Trout currently sidelined.

Neto, who started at shortstop and hit out of the seven spot, also finished 2-5 and hit a home run. It was his fifth of the year, and it put the Angels up 3-1 in the top of the fourth inning.

Neto did a nice job as he helped the Angels limit a familiar face, Andrew Heaney, to a quick start for the Rangers. Heaney pitched for the team from 2015-2021 and has the ninth-most strikeouts among lefties in team history (593). He has struggled so far for Texas this season as he’s now 0-5 with a 4.43 ERA. He exited the game on Friday night after just 3.2 innings of work and 83 pitches.

Thanks to the performances from Ward and Neto, Los Angeles got a nice boost of power that helped them increase the lead for a stress-free win.

Washington wins against former team

Angels’ manager Ron Washington managed his first-ever game as a visitor in Arlington in the victory. Washington, who managed the Rangers throughout parts of 2007-2014, is the winningest manager in team history. The 2024 season is his first with a managerial job since his time in Texas.

The squad made sure to come out with some extra firepower as they scored nine runs for the second time in the last five days. Now 11-12 on the road, the team has shown much better progress when they have been away from Angel Stadium. The team’s 6-16 record at home is the worst in baseball, with the team going 2-5 on their recent homestand against the Royals and Cardinals.

Washington’s squad is 17-28 this season. Their series against Texas is the first against an NL West opponent this season. The 44 games that they played prior without seeing a division opponent is tied for the second-longest stretch before their first game against such opponents in MLB history. After the game, he spoke to the media about the chance to start putting together a consistent stretch for the first time this season.

The Angels will start lefty Patrick Sandoval (2-6, 5.00 ERA) against Jose Urena (1-1, 2.31 ERA) in game two of the series at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The squad will look to extend their winning streak to three and stay perfect against division opponents this season. The Rangers (23-23) have won seven in a row this season in games where they are playing to avoid a losing record.