The Los Angeles Angels hope to have Taylor Ward back in the lineup Tuesday when they face the Tampa Bay Rays in Anaheim, Calif., in the second game of a three-game series.
Ward was held out of the Monday game, an 11-3 Los Angeles victory, because of tightness in his right hamstring. The injury occurred Sunday afternoon when Ward raced home from second base to score the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Ward missed the first week of the season with a groin strain, but has been one of the hottest hitters in the majors since then. As the Angels’ everyday right fielder and leadoff hitter, Ward leads the American League in batting average (.364) and co-leads in walks (19), and he leads the majors in on-base percentage (.490) and slugging percentage (.675).
Angels infielder David Fletcher, however, will not be in the lineup anytime soon. He began spring training as the club’s starting shortstop but injured his hip in camp. Though he was able to begin the season in the lineup, he lasted only five games before going to the injured list for three weeks.
The injury has flared up again and now surgery is a possibility, though Fletcher said he doesn’t think he’d be out long.
“I still don’t know exactly what we’re gonna do,” Fletcher said, “but I don’t think (it would be) too long. … Obviously, it’s not ideal, but hopefully I’ll get it fixed and be back pretty soon.”
Left-hander Reid Detmers (1-1, 5.32 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels on Tuesday to make his sixth start of the season and the 11th of his career. He has never faced the Rays.
Right-hander Corey Kluber (1-1, 2.36 ERA) will make his sixth start of the year for the Rays, coming off two outstanding outings. His last time out, on Wednesday in Oakland, he shut out the A’s on three hits over six innings, striking out seven and walking only one but getting a no-decision.
His previous start, on April 29, he allowed just one run on one hit and no walks in six innings in a win over the visiting Minnesota Twins.
Kluber is a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, but he has dealt with a variety of injuries over the past few years that have limited his availability. The Rays took a chance on him by signing him to a one-year, $8 million deal, hoping he could provide leadership as well as some productive innings on the mound.
Kluber is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in eight career starts against the Angels.
The blowout defeat Monday night was Tampa Bay’s second consecutive setback following a six-game winning streak. The Rays didn’t lack for opportunities in the opener against the Angels, but they finished the night 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
“We had some opportunities early to put the first runs up and we didn’t capitalize,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Our offense, I really think it’s fine. The timely hits just kind of eluded us.”
The Angels had no problem collecting big hits on Monday. They socked four homers, two of them by Shohei Ohtani, including his first grand slam in the United States or Japan.
–Field Level Media