The Los Angeles Angels host the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night hoping that at least one of their projected mainstays of the offense has turned the corner and is moving in the right direction.
Without Mike Trout in the lineup, the production of third baseman Anthony Rendon is even more important to Los Angeles. But Rendon has had injury issues of his own, with two stints on the injured list.
Struggling to find his groove all season, Rendon may have located a spark after recording a three-hit performance on Tuesday against San Francisco. Rendon had two singles, a double and drove in five runs in the Angels’ 8-1 win over the Giants, but is still hitting just .228 with three homers and a .646 OPS.
Rendon, however, has kept an even-keel disposition throughout the season.
“I’ve never seen him panic,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “You watch him, even through some bad at-bats, he’ll just put the bat down and go to his position. He’s boiling inside, but doesn’t show it externally, which I think is great. It’s a great way to be.
“And that’s why he’s so successful. He’s one of those guys that’s a tension-free kind of a baseball player, and I think that benefits him over the long haul.”
That laid-back attitude is more than his approach; it’s just how he is.
“I’m not one to slam my helmet, throw bats, break bats,” Rendon said. “I don’t want to be that type of individual. More gray hairs come in that sense. Can’t be a happy hitter.”
Right-hander Griffin Canning (4-3, 5.40 ERA) will get the nod for the Angels after coming off a victory in his previous start against Texas on May 26. Canning pitched well in the month of May, going 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in five starts. He is 1-0 with a 1.47 ERA in three career starts against Seattle.
Left-hander Justus Sheffield (4-4, 4.96 ERA), who will start for the Mariners, is 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA in three career starts against Los Angeles. Sheffield will not have Kyle Lewis playing behind him in center field now that the latter is out again with a knee injury.
Lewis, who is seeking a second opinion, was initially diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee. He missed the first 17 games of the season with a bone bruise on the knee.
“Kyle is really down, he’s disappointed,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He was playing so well, and like any player having to deal with that kind of issue, and just as he was getting it going, it becomes very frustrating.”
Moving over from left field, Jarred Kelenic is expected to get most of the starts for the Mariners in center field. Kelenic, 21, is still trying to find his major league stroke, hitting .111 with two homers and a .422 OPS.
–Field Level Media