The Angels just can’t catch a break. Earlier on Tuesday the team announced that they’ve placed trade deadline acquisitions Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez on waivers (presumably to dump salary as the Halos aren’t contending). They also placed Hunter Renfroe, Matt Moore, and Randal Grichuk on waivers earlier on Tuesday and these moves signify that the Angels have accepted their fate as out of contention and will miss the playoffs for the 9th straight season. The Angels took a huge gamble giving up 2nd and 3rd best prospects Edgar Quero and Ky Bush for Giolito and Lopez and it simply didn’t work out.
Though Grichuk went 3-4 on Tuesday, he simply hasn’t been good since being traded to the Angels with a negative fWAR, limited production at the plate, and abysmal defense in the outfield. Despite Renfroe and Grichuk being on waivers, they both were in the lineup on Tuesday as the Angels had a great showing at the plate vs. former Halo Michael Lorenzen. Shohei Ohtani and Luis Rengifo both had 3 hits and prized rookie Nolan Schanuel added in 2 hits and extended his hitting streak to 9 games to start his career.
However, Tyler Anderson continued his struggles on the mound (especially with the long-ball) and both Jose Soriano and Jaime Barria produced lackluster showings in relief. As a result the Halos lost 12-7 to the Phillies in the second game of a three-game series and now drop to a season worst seven games under .500 with a 63-70 record.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Tyler Anderson struggles mightily
When Tyler Anderson signed a 3-year $39 Million dollar deal with the Angels in the offseason following a career year with the Dodgers, many people questioned if Anderson’s production was sustainable. He was already 33 years old and coming off of just one season with an ERA less than 4 in his career (other than his shortened rookie season in 2016). Turns out those people were right as Anderson boasts an ERA of 5.58 and has given up a total of 135 hits in 122 innings pitched this season.
On Tuesday Anderson had given up just 2 runs through 5 innings before a horrendous 6th inning, where he failed to record an out and gave up a 3-run home run to Alec Bohm before being taken out of the game. Jose Soriano came in and surrendered Anderson’s inherited base-runner to give him 6 total earned runs on the afternoon. In just year 1 of Anderson’s contract, it has already become one of the worst contracts in the MLB and soon enough the Halos may have to just cut him and eat the money.
Luis Rengifo continues hot streak
What more can be said about what Luis Rengifo has accomplished recently? As I mentioned in previous columns regarding the Angels, Rengifo had already raised his average over 50 points in the span of two months going into Tuesday’s game as he’s been the hottest hitter on the team recently. On Tuesday, Rengifo hit two solo home runs (his first two at bats of the game) off of former teammate Michael Lorenzen.
Rengifo also singled later in the game to produce his second 3-hit game in a row, but it wasn’t enough to give the Halos a victory. In fact, Tuesday was the second game in a row the Angels had 11 or more hits and lost. Nevertheless, Rengifo’s average is now up to .258, his OPS up to .774, and in the month of August alone Rengifo has notched 31 hits and 4 home runs. The 26 year old has also played numerous positions for the Halos, has stayed healthy all year long, and has been one of the best hitters in the American League over the last two months.
Shohei Ohtani notches three hits
Shohei Ohtani may have tore his UCL last week, but that certainly hasn’t affected his production at the plate. Ohtani produced 3 hits on Tuesday including an RBI double in the top of the 9th inning to drive in Schanuel and cut the deficit to 5 runs. Ohtani was one of three Angels to have 3+ hits including Rengifo and Grichuk as well.
Ohtani now has 9 hits and 6 walks over his last 7 games for an average of .375, and he seems to have a lock on the AL MVP award if he continues to hit the rest of the season. Ohtani boasts an average of .307 with 44 home runs, 149 hits, and an OPS of 1.074 on the season and will look to continue one of the greatest individual campaigns in MLB history on Wednesday.