Rough second inning plagues Angels in spring training loss to Dodgers

The Angels allow the Dodgers to bat around in the second inning of a 5-3 Spring Training loss Sunday.

LOS ANGELES — The Angels dropped the first game of the Spring Training Freeway Series to the Dodgers 5-3 Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Griffin Canning made his fifth and final Spring Training start on Sunday and is in line to start the Angels’ second game of the regular season against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

The Dodgers scored four of their five runs in the second inning when the team batted around.

All three of the Angels runs came in the seventh inning. Zach Neto hit a run-scoring triple and non-roster invitees Jake Marisnick and Miguel Sano each drove in runs.

The Angels fell to 13-15-2 in Spring Training and a 1-0-1 record against the Dodgers.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Mixed Bag for Canning

Canning displayed flashes of brilliance Sunday but also showed signs of concern. He allowed three hits and four earned runs in 4.2 innings of work with two walks and eight strikeouts.

The second inning proved to be trouble for Canning and he was unable to finish the inning. He allowed a run-scoring double to Jason Heyward and a two-run single to Gavin Lux before being lifted by Ron Washington in favor of reliever Hayden Seig.

Due to Spring Training rules, Canning was allowed to return in the third to extend his pitch count and was lights out from there. Unfortunately for Canning, he will not have the luxury to go to the dugout and regain his composure in the middle of an inning during the regular season.

His changeup drew a good amount of swings and misses Sunday and if he can keep the ball in the lower half of the zone, he can be effective for the Angels this season.

Neto’s speed is a huge asset

The 23 year old shortstop only had four net steals in 84 games as a rookie last season, but his speed is a weapon for the Angels this season.

Neto legged out an infield single on Sunday and hit a stand up triple to drive in a run in the seventh inning.

He has a .991 OPS this spring and if he can get on base frequently, he will provide a lot of scoring for the Angels.

Strickland should earn final bullpen slot

Hunter Strickland did not appear in a major league game in 2023 and was released by the Reds in May, but the 35 year old has been effective this spring.

Strickland has a 2.45 ERA with 15 strikeouts and zero walks in 11 innings. He threw a perfect inning with a strikeout on Sunday.

His ability to keep opponents off the bases by not walking guys is something the Angels need this season. Strickland also has experience in high-leverage situations.

A good counterpoint to this argument is that he did have a career-high 4.8 walks per 9 innings in 2022 and walked 12 hitters in 11 innings in the minor leagues last season. The zero walks could very well be due to the small sample size, or something clicked with him in his year away from the major leagues.