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    Angels’ bullpen eager to make more consistent contributions
    • May 30, 2024

    ANAHEIM — Twice on Tuesday the top two batters of the dreaded New York Yankees’ lineup came to the plate in the late innings of a tight game.

    The Angels’ bullpen not only dispatched the duo, four relievers combined for four perfect innings against an offense that entered Wednesday night’s game leading MLB in home runs (82) and in OPS (.770).

    The next challenge is repeating the feat, or something like it, so that it becomes normalized.

    “Everyone’s going to have their opinions and pull up the numbers or whatever it may be, but we know that’s what is expected on a consistent basis,” Angels catcher Logan O’Hoppe said of the bullpen on Wednesday. “So it is good to see but I don’t think it needs to be celebrated anymore because I think we all just did our jobs there.”

    Having already extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the Yankees’ Anthony Volpe grounded out in the sixth inning Tuesday and again in the ninth. Having already hit a home run earlier in the game, Juan Soto struck out in the sixth and flew out to end the game.

    In the seventh inning, New York slugger Aaron Judge struck out against Luis Garcia and Giancarlo Stanton hit a soft ground ball to second base.

    The Angels rallied to win the game, 4-3, on a two-run double from Taylor Ward in the eighth inning, in an opportunity that only was available because of the assist from a much-maligned bullpen. Yet, the group still ended its 12-up-12-down magic trick with a 4.71 ERA through 56 games.

    Don’t be so surprised by the success, ever-optimistic Manager Ron Washington said.

    “You know, early in the season they were doing that,” Washington said. “They were coming in getting things done and the ERA blew up because they had a bad inning. It takes many outings to get that balloon down. So they showed (Tuesday) what they are capable of doing.”

    O’Hoppe was behind the plate for all of it. He guided Hunter Strickland, Garcia, Matt Moore and closer Carlos Estevez to the 12 consecutive outs to end the game.

    While the Angels’ overall bullpen ERA is high, individual numbers paint a contrasting picture. Despite a 4.43 ERA, Adam Cimber has not been scored upon in 18 of 22 outings and stranded his first 15 inherited runners before allowing one to score Sunday. Strickland has held opponents scoreless in 16 of his past 17 outings.

    “I definitely think there needs to be a time and a place to celebrate the success and acknowledge the good, but at the same time, we’re not here to not play well,” O’Hoppe said. “We’re here to do our jobs the best we can. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to downgrade that my any means. I think that’s just kind of what we do.”


    Infielder Michael Stefanic (quadriceps) was activated off the 60-day injured list and then optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake. Right-hander Jose Cisnero (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day IL after also experiencing lower back discomfort.

    The Angels entered the day with 12 players on the injured list.

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    “It’s always tough, but sometimes when you’re being challenged – and I think we are being challenged by the baseball gods, and I do believe there’s baseball gods out there – we’re going to weather the storm,” Washington said.


    The left-handed-hitting Mickey Moniak was back in the lineup on Wednesday against Yankees right-hander Luis Gil, while Kevin Pillar was in a reserve role one night after hitting his fifth home run in 17 games for the Angels.

    Moniak batted .280 overall last season with 14 home runs and hit .294 against right-handed pitching. The hope is that opportunities against right-handers will help him to recover from a .179 batting average and .265 slugging percentage through 41 games this season.

    “We have to get Moniak going and we certainly won’t get him going facing left-handers,” Washington said. “So he’s going to get the right-handers and Pillar will get the left-handers. And I will also get Pillar some games against right-handers.”


    Yankees (LHP Carlos Rodon, 6-2, 2.95 ERA) at Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 2-7, 5.60 ERA), Thursday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

    ​ Orange County Register