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Jun 3, 2024 2:08 am

Knuckleballer Matt Waldron to start for Padres vs. Angels

Matt Waldron

Kevin Pillar has been the Los Angeles Angels’ hottest hitter since the start of May, but he likely won’t be in the lineup on Monday when the club hosts the San Diego Padres in Anaheim, Calif., for the opener of a three-game set.

Pillar, who was signed on April 30 after electing to choose free agency following a stint with the White Sox, has found new life. After hitting just .160 (4-for-25) in 17 games with Chicago, Pillar has hit .389 (28-for-72) with five homers and 21 RBIs across 21 games with Los Angeles.

Despite the gaudy numbers, Angels manager Ron Washington continues to use Pillar as a platoon player, starting him in center field against left-handed pitchers while the left-handed-hitting Mickey Moniak starts against right-handers.

The Padres will start right-hander Matt Waldron in Monday’s game.

“We need to try to get Moniak going,” Washington said. “Pillar knows he’s not going to be on the field every day. But I’m not going to let him get to the point where he’s stale, to the point where he loses what he had. But there will be times where he has a good night and he’s not playing the next day.”

Washington made an exception on Sunday in the Angels’ 5-1 loss to the Mariners, as Pillar started in left field against Seattle right-hander Luis Castillo, letting regular left fielder Taylor Ward serve as the designated hitter.

Ward has played in 58 of the Angels’ 59 games this season, but he has struggled as of late, going 6-for-31 (.194) in his past 10 games.

Pillar went 0-for-2 with a walk on Sunday, seeing the end of his 14-game hitting streak. And even when Pillar is not in the lineup, his teammates say he has been a positive presence.

“KP has been awesome, just having him around, and especially the small parts of the game,” Angels right fielder Jo Adell said. “Our team is pretty young and we’re trying to put it together. It’s really good to have that presence in the clubhouse, and obviously he’s playing incredible.”

Left-hander Tyler Anderson (5-5, 2.47 ERA) will make his 12th start of the season for the Angels. He is 6-3 with a 2.36 ERA in 15 career appearances (14 starts) against San Diego.

Anderson took a loss against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, surrendering one run and four hits in five innings.

Waldron (3-5, 4.26) will make his 12th start of the season for the Padres, and he is coming off his best outing of the year. Last Tuesday against the Miami Marlins, Waldron threw seven scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking none.

He has never faced Los Angeles.

It is not known whether infielder Luis Arraez will be in the lineup for San Diego. Arraez leads the majors with a .340 batting average, but he left Sunday’s 4-3 loss against the Kansas City Royals in the sixth inning because of a shoulder injury.

Arraez was hurt while sliding into second base in the fifth. He is optimistic that he’ll be good to go for Monday.

“When I slid, my head was to second (to the left) and then my arm still to the right,” Arraez said. “I looked to second, and I twisted it. It’s not too bad. I’ll be fine.”

–Field Level Media

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