Rather than stick with proven hitters against left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea, Angels manager Joe Maddon shook up the lineup Saturday for the second game of the series against the Oakland Athletics.
Taylor Ward, the Angels’ first-round pick of the 2015 draft, drew the start over right fielder Brian Goodwin. Michael Hermosillo entered the lineup at left field. Shohei Ohtani, slated to take the mound in an MLB game for the first time since September 2018 on Sunday, received the day off so Maddon slid Justin Upton into the designated hitter’s spot.
Goodwin, a left-handed hitter, took 354 of his 458 plate appearances last season against right-handed pitchers in 2019 but his performance against left-handers didn’t suffer. He hit .263 with an .815 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Ward hasn’t had a significant opportunity to prove himself since making his debut in 2018. He has batted .188 in only 61 MLB games.
Maddon said he didn’t want either Ward or Hermosillo to be pigeon-holed into bench roles, so expect to see them with some regularity.
Anthony Rendon remained nursing a sore oblique muscle but took ground balls at third base. Maddon said Rendon’s progress is encouraging.
Tommy La Stella