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Apr 4, 2024 9:27 pm

Angels take on surging Red Sox in home opener

Nolan Schanuel

The Los Angeles Angels will face the Boston Red Sox, who have won four in a row, in their home opener Friday night in Anaheim, Calif. But that’s not the only streak on the line when the two clubs begin a three-game series.

Angels first baseman Nolan Schanuel has reached base in the first 35 games of his career, the third-longest streak to begin a career in major league history. Only Alvin Davis (47 in 1984) and Truck Hannah (38 in 1918) had longer streaks.

Schanuel was fast-tracked to the big leagues, drafted out of Florida Atlantic in June 2023 and promoted to the majors after only 22 minor league games.

He hit .275 with a .732 OPS in his 29 games with the Angels last season, but despite his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, hit only one home run in 132 plate appearances.

Angels manager Ron Washington isn’t expecting homers from Schanuel.

“There will be times he can pick and choose when he wants to try to go for it,” Washington said. “I just don’t want him trying to go for it every night, because then we’ll get away from his style of hitting. I want him to have his style of hitting and get some success first. Once he gathers that success, he’ll know when to pick and choose. The power is in there. I don’t want him trying to get it out of there every single night.”

Despite reaching base consistently (.391 on-base percentage), he’s off to a relatively slow start, batting .188 (3 for 16) with one homer.

Angels right-hander Griffin Canning (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will try to bounce back after losing his first start of the season, allowing five runs on seven hits and one walk in five innings against the Orioles last Saturday.

He is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two career starts against Boston.

Right-hander Kutter Crawford (0-0, 0.00) is scheduled to start for the Red Sox. He earned a no-decision in his first start this year despite pitching well — six innings, one run (unearned), three hits, one walk and seven strikeouts — in a 4-3 extra-inning loss at Seattle on March 30.

Crawford isn’t lacking for pitches — he has a six-pitch repertoire (fastball, cutter, curve, splitter, sweeper and slider). The Red Sox are hoping to see Crawford pitch deep into games. He lasted at least six innings in six of his 23 starts last season.

“I know I have the ability to do it,” he said. “And I think at the end of the day, it’s all about just throwing a bunch of strikes, staying on the attack. There were some outings (last season) where I didn’t do as good of a job throwing strikes, but I’ve seen that when I do throw strikes and I attack hitters and I stay ahead of hitters, I’m able to go deeper into ball games more efficiently.”

Crawford is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three career games (all in relief) against the Angels.

–Field Level Media

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