The Los Angeles Angels are looking good at the back end of their bullpen and batting order heading into the opener of a two-game series at the San Francisco Giants on Monday afternoon.
David Fletcher struggled at the top of the order earlier this season, but has heated up in the No. 9 spot and helped Los Angeles earn a split of a four-game series at the Oakland Athletics over the weekend.
Raisel Iglesias also got off to a slow start this season, but recorded his seventh straight save on Sunday in a 4-2 win against the A’s, and has allowed two runs with 17 strikeouts over his past 11 innings.
He recorded the final out in the eighth inning on Sunday, then raced back to the mound to begin his warmups in the bottom of the ninth before many of the A’s had exited the field.
“Definitely focused, man,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Iglesias. “I talk to him all the time, almost daily. He’s really focused right now. Every pitch is working.”
Iglesias, whom the Angels acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in an offseason trade, mixes a changeup and slider with a fastball that was up to 97 mph on Sunday.
“The guy’s got three well-above-average pitches, and now it’s just starting to come together for him,” Maddon said. “Now he knows where it’s going and that’s the difference. I’ve seen it before. He can stay like this for a while.”
Fletcher had two doubles and two RBIs on Sunday and is hitting .300 since dropping into the No. 9 spot on May 15, compared to .256 as the leadoff hitter.
“My approach is always the same,” Fletcher said. “Runners in scoring position, just try to drive them in, and if no one is on, try to get on base.”
The Giants are coming off three straight wins at the Los Angeles Dodgers to cap off a six-game road trip in which they went 5-1.
“We did a really nice job on this trip,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “We stayed together as a team, got some big outs from our bullpen, got contributions from our starting pitching and our bench as well, so I thought it was a very well-rounded trip.”
The Giants plan to send veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto to the mound against the Angels.
Cueto (3-1, 3.86 ERA) has faced the Angels only four times in his 14-year major league career, but is 3-0 against them with a 1.35 ERA.
Cueto faced the Angels last Aug. 19 in Anaheim and earned the win after allowing two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 7-2 victory.
The Angels plan to send right-hander Dylan Bundy to the mound for the series opener. Bundy (0-5, 6.50) has struggled most of the season.
He pitched a season-low 2 1/3 innings in his last outing against Oakland, allowing four runs and five hits. The Angels bailed him out from another loss by scoring five runs over the sixth through eighth innings in the 6-5 win.
Bundy faced the Giants in August as well and surrendered a leadoff homer to Mike Yastrzemski and a two-run shot to Pablo Sandoval in the second before leaving after four innings in the 8-2 loss.
Bundy won his only other career start in San Francisco in 2016, and is 1-1 overall against the Giants with a 4.66 ERA.
–Field Level Media