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Mar 31, 2024 4:20 am

Orioles look to complete sweep of Angels

adley rutschman

The Baltimore Orioles will host the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards, looking to complete a sweep after the defending American League East champions had their way with the Angels in the first two games of the series.

Not much is expected of the Angels this season, in part because the club lost two-way star Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers via free agency. That left the Angels with one bona fide superstar in center fielder Mike Trout.

But even Trout has not been at his best the past few years, injuries being a primary factor, including being limited to 82 games last season because of a broken hamate bone in his left wrist. In fact, he hasn’t played in more than 119 games in a season since 2019, when he won the third of his three AL MVP awards.

Not playing regularly seemingly has affected his mechanics at the plate, something Trout recognized and worked on during spring training.

“My head is moving too much, and when the head moves, the ball moves,” Trout said. “I’m trying to slow everything down. It sounds simple, but it’s a process. My swing hasn’t felt right for the past year, year and a half, but I know I’m gonna get that feeling back.”

Trout homered in his first at-bat of the season on Thursday off Orioles pitcher Corbin Burnes and went 2-for-6 in the club’s two-games, including 1-for-3 in Saturday’s 13-4 loss.

Trout and his Angels teammates will face Tyler Wells on Sunday. Trout has had some success against the 6-foot-8 right-hander — he is 3-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs against Wells. Wells is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in five career games (two starts) against the Angels.

Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman is off to a hot start, going 3-for-7 with five runs scored in the first two games. An All-Star last season, Rutschman said he doesn’t set goals for himself in terms of statistics.

“I like to make process-oriented goals,” he said. “It’s so tough in baseball because it’s easy to say, ‘Oh, I want to hit .290 this year or hit 30 home runs.’ But for me, it’s the day-to-day.

“If I can set my goals on a daily basis, make my routine as consistent as possible, that’s how I’m going to be best prepared to play that game. What are things I’m identifying with my hitting coaches, our catching coach, the things I need to get better at and just hammering away at those.”

Left-hander Reid Detmers will make his season debut for the Angels, coming off a disappointing 2023 in which he went 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 28 starts.

Detmers said Angels manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Barry Enright have tried to instill a simple approach for the club’s pitchers after the staff last year ranked No. 23 of 30 teams with a 4.64 ERA.

“Just throw strikes, that’s the main thing,” Detmers said. “It’s been beat down our throats all spring. Don’t worry about stuff, your stuff will come, just get everything in the zone. We kind of got out of hand with it (last season), just trying to be nasty 24-7. And we didn’t need that. Once the season ended, we all got together and said we can’t do this again next year.”

Detmers is 0-1 with a 1.53 ERA in three career starts against Baltimore.

Orioles reliever Cionel Perez had to leave the game in the ninth inning Saturday with an undisclosed injury, though it appeared it could be an oblique issue.

–Field Level Media

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