Hello! Welcome to the fourth edition of the new Angels Beat newsletter. Rhett Bollinger has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2019. Prior to that, he covered the Twins for eight seasons.
ANAHEIM -- Angels fans got their first glimpse of right-hander Michael Lorenzen in Monday’s 6-2 win over the Marlins, and Lorenzen made the most of his first start with his hometown Halos by throwing six strong innings with seven strikeouts. Lorenzen was born in Anaheim, and he attended nearby Fullerton Union High School and Cal State Fullerton before being selected by the Reds in the first round of the 2013 Draft.
But after seven years with Cincinnati, Lorenzen chose the Angels in free agency this past offseason, as it was an opportunity for him to pitch close to home and the Halos were willing to allow him the chance to start after mostly pitching in relief with the Reds.
Lorenzen, 30, grew up an Angels fan and shared some of his favorite memories of the club growing up, including his favorite player.
“Jim Edmonds was the reason why I played center field,” Lorenzen said. “Obviously, he made that catch against Kansas City, which I think was the best catch ever."
Lorenzen was 10 years old when the Angels won the World Series in 2002 and he said several players from that team -- such as Darin Erstad, David Eckstein and Scott Spiezio -- helped shape his own personality as a player. Lorenzen said he was fortunate one of his friends from Little League was family friends with Angel Stadium head groundskeeper Barney Lopas, which allowed him to attend several games growing up, including in 2002.
"That whole '02 team just had a bunch of good baseball players on that team that definitely influenced the way I see the game and the way I think the game should be played," Lorenzen said. "Like Erstad, Eckstein, Spiezio. They were just hard-nosed baseball players who played the game the right way. They ran hard, played hard. It was a fun team to watch."
VERLANDER ON OHTANI
Astros right-hander Justin Verlander missed last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he still followed the Major League season closely and said he was in awe of what two-way star Shohei Ohtani accomplished in 2021. Verlander’s brother, Ben, who works for FOX Sports and hosts the Flippin’ Bats Podcast, has long been one of Ohtani’s biggest fans, and it turns out Justin is also a fan. Verlander had nothing but praise for Ohtani after facing him on Saturday in the Angels’ 2-0 win, and he was amazed by him starting on the mound and batting leadoff on Thursday on Opening Day.
“That was one of the most impressive, cool things I’ve seen in a long time,” Verlander said. “I got chills. He finished the first inning, he’s leading off the next inning, the ovation, it’s awesome what he’s doing. Just really impressive. I’m a big fan. I think just because I struck him out three times doesn’t mean anything. This is baseball. He put some good swings on the ball. I made some good pitches against him, especially that big spot in the last inning. A pitch that was right on the edge, a borderline pitch. I think we’ll have a lot of fun battles.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Ohtani recorded not only the hardest-hit ball of his career on Sunday, but it was also the hardest-hit ball by a left-handed hitter since Statcast was introduced in 2015. It came on a third-inning double off right-hander José Urquidy.
• Right-hander Noah Syndergaard was impressive Saturday in his Angels debut, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0 win, and said after the game he was honored that it came on the 13th anniversary of Nick Adenhart's tragic death in 2009. Syndergaard is the first Angels player to wear No. 34 since Adenhart's passing.
Who is the only player to appear in at least 2,000 games in an Angels uniform?
A. Tim Salmon
B. Garret Anderson
C. Jim Fregosi
D. Mike Trout
THIS WEEK IN ANGELS HISTORY
The first combined no-hitter in Angels history was thrown on April 11, 1990, when Mark Langston (seven innings) and Mike Witt (two innings) combined to hold the Mariners hitless in a 1-0 win. The no-no came in just the third game of the season and was the second time Witt was involved in a no-hitter with the Angels, as he also threw a perfect game against the Rangers on Sept. 30, 1984.
It also was Langston's first start with the Angels after signing a five-year deal worth $16 million that at the time briefly made him the highest-paid player in baseball. And it came after a shortened Spring Training because of a labor dispute much like this season. So, Langston was the one who told manager Doug Rader to take him out after seven innings. Rader brought in Witt, which brought boos at Angel Stadium, but the righty threw two perfect innings to preserve the no-hit bid.
Garret Anderson, who played in in 2,013 games with the Angels in 15 seasons from 1994-2008. Salmon played in 1,672 games with the Angels, which ranks second in franchise history, while Fregosi played in 1,429 games with the Halos, which is the fourth-highest total in club history. Trout is at 1,293 games and counting. He remains under contract through 2030.
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