Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Nolan Schanuel aims to lead slumping Angels past Rays

Field Level Media
20 Sep 2023, 21:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

The Los Angeles Angels' 2023 season has been an utter disappointment following the All-Star break, but something else happened over the summer that should leave the organization and fans excited about next spring.

First baseman Nolan Schanuel.

After a sizzling summer debut, Schanuel and the Angels will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday evening in the second contest of their three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The season began to unravel for the Angels (68-83) following the Aug. 1 trade deadline when the team chose to be a buyer rather than a seller, acquiring Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, C.J. Cron, Randal Grichuk and Dominic Leone.

Since that date, the Angels have a 12-32 record (.273) after Tuesday's series-opening 6-2 loss, the team's sixth setback in a row.

That percentage is lower than the overall one of the last-place Oakland Athletics, who are playing just north of .300 ball.

However, Schanuel -- a first-round pick (11th) in this year's draft -- has been a bright star during a record-setting debut after being called up 40 days after his selection.

He is hitting .284 following an 0-for-3 night with a walk in the opener. He has reached base in all 23 games so far.

That mark broke the club record set by Darin Erstad (15 games) in 1996 and is the longest such streak since Christopher Morel started his Chicago Cubs career by reaching base in 22 straight games in 2021.

"It's just really impressive just the way he's slowed things down in the box since Day 1," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "He's looked comfortable. He knows the zone as well as anybody I've seen."

Tampa Bay (93-59) used a four-run eighth inning to beat former Rays reliever Aaron Loup on Tuesday.

Mired in a 3-for-37 slump, infielder Osleivis Basabe rapped a two-run double to snap a 2-2 tie and send the Rays to their third win in four meetings with the Angels this season.

With everyone scoreboard-watching as the second-place Rays pursue the Baltimore Orioles for the top spot in the AL East, Basabe had some advice with 10 games left.

"Everyone has to be focused to give the best of themselves, and I think we'll be all right," he said through a translator.

The Rays will turn to right-hander Aaron Civale (7-3, 3.06 ERA) on Wednesday for his ninth start with the team since being acquired from the Cleveland Guardians at the trade deadline.

In 13 starts for Cleveland, Civale went 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. However, he is 2-1 with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP with Tampa Bay.

Most glaringly, Civale yielded just an average of 6.8 hits per nine innings with the Guardians but 9.3 with the Rays.

In his lone career start vs. the Angels on May 19, 2021, Civale earned the win by tossing seven innings and yielding four hits and two runs, including a solo homer by Jared Walsh.

Returning from an illness, left-hander Reid Detmers (3-10, 4.77) will make his 27th start Wednesday and will try to win for the first time since Aug. 16.

In his lone career outing against the Rays on May 10, 2022, Detmers recorded the franchise's 12th career no-hitter in a 12-0 win. He struck out two and walked one.

--Field Level Media

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