Motivated Angels aim to continue ascent vs. winless Marlins

The Los Angeles Angels, who boast a combination of veteran hitters and a pair of promising 23-and-under players, are starting to gain steam.

After getting pounded by the Baltimore Orioles in their first two games, new Angels manager Ron Washington called a team meeting.

It worked.

The Angels since have won both of their games, and they will go for a third straight victory on Tuesday evening when they continue their three-game series against the host Miami Marlins.

Los Angeles’ youth movement includes first baseman Nolan Schanuel, 22, and shortstop Zach Neto, 23.

Both of them are former Angels first-round picks. Both also have South Florida connections, making this series a homecoming for them. Neto was born in Miami, and Schanuel was born in nearby Boca Raton and starred at Florida Atlantic.

Schanuel homered in the Angels’ 7-4 win over the Marlins in Monday’s series opener. That game also featured two homers from superstar Mike Trout, showcasing the aforementioned mix of veterans and newcomers.

“We’ve got a lot of youth, and every time they go out there, it’s a learning experience,” Washington said. “They just have to learn to deal with the ups and downs.”

Tuesday’s game will feature a pair of left-handed starters: Miami’s Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 3.60 ERA) against the Angels’ Tyler Anderson, who will make his 2024 debut after going 6-6 with a 5.43 ERA last season.

Luzardo is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in six career games (two starts) against the Angels.

Anderson, who is on his sixth team in the past six seasons, is 1-3 with a 3.38 ERA in eight career starts vs. Miami.

Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said he is concerned with middle reliever George Soriano, who has a 7.71 ERA in three games. He also allowed two homers in one inning on Monday.

“Soriano’s slider is not there right now like it was last year and in spring training,” Schumaker said. “We have to figure it out because that’s our guy who we hope will get right-handed hitters out. We have to identify what is going on mechanically to get his slider where it needs to be.”

Marlins closer Tanner Scott also is struggling, as he walked the bases loaded in the eighth inning on Monday. Scott has two of Miami’s five losses this season.

“I believe in Tanner,” Schumaker said. “I feel like he’s our best guy out there. I know he is. He’s got the best stuff. But he has (six) walks (in three innings), and that’s not him.

“Making them beat him in the (strike) zone is going to be the key moving forward, and he knows that.”

One positive for the Marlins is the performance of second baseman Luis Arraez, who went 2-for-2 with three walks on Monday. However, the Marlins are off to an 0-5 start for the first time in franchise history.

One of Miami’s many problems this season is an inability to do much damage against relievers. In 23 1/3 innings against opposing bullpens, Miami has just two runs.

All of that explains how Miami blew a 5-0 lead to the Pirates on Sunday and a 4-0 advantage to the Angels on Monday.

Trout’s mammoth 473-foot blast against Soriano on Monday put an exclamation point on Miami’s poor start.

–Field Level Media