Saturday, July 13, 2024

O’Hoppe finds his stroke, helps spark Angels to win over Guardians

Must read

ANAHEIM — Angels catcher Logan O’Hoppe had been waiting for this, a chance to show he still was the same batter as he was before shoulder surgery derailed his season.

It’s been a long time coming.

O’Hoppe, who rejoined the team last month after missing 103 games, belted his second two-run home run in as many games Saturday to help the Angels defeat the Cleveland Guardians, 6-2, at Angel Stadium. He hit a two-run shot in Friday’s loss.

Since returning three weeks ago, the 23-year-old had batted just .146 with a .508 OPS in 60 plate appearances, calling his performance “disgusting.” Before tearing his labrum, O’Hoppe was batting .259.

“Last night, it felt like it clicked and now I want to build on that,” O’Hoppe said, adding that he has adjusted his stance in recent weeks.

He wasted no time in boosting his production. He hit his eighth home run of the season off Guardians starter Lucas Giolito in the first inning, a two-run shot in that put the Angels up, 2-1.

“I think my confidence hasn’t changed,” said Hoppe, who was 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. “I know I can play up here and do this. I think I’ve been searching for something that I can feel good about and ride out. My confidence hasn’t changed, but I’m happy that I have that feeling back now.”

Manager Phil Nevin said that he knew O’Hoppe would regain his “big-time power” at some point.

“Once we knew he was healthy and had his legs underneath him, then he could catch nine innings,” Nevin said. “The challenge was the at bats. We knew that would be slow to come. He hit well in the minor leagues, but obviously it’s a little bit different up here.”

O’Hoppe’s big hit was just one of four home runs by the Angels off Giolito, who was with the team just nine days earlier.

It was the kind of performance the Angels had seen all too often from Giolito (7-13) this season, appearing to make their decision to waive him a sound one after six starts. He gave up four runs on four hits and struck out nine over seven innings.

Giolito had a 1-5 record, a 6.89 ERA with the Angels before landing with the Guardians. Coming into Saturday’s game – his first back at Angels Stadium of Anaheim – Giolito has made one start for the Guardians, giving up nine runs, including three home runs, and seven hits in three innings.

Giolito seemed to settle down after spotting the Angels a 2-1 lead, retiring the side in the second inning. But that lasted all of one pitch.

After the Guardians tied the game on Josh Naylor’s 16th home run in the second, Angels center fielder Brett Phillips lofted a shot into the right field tunnel on the first pitch to lead off the third and give the Angels a 3-2 lead.

The Angels made it 4-2 on Matt Thaiss’ home run to right field in the fourth inning and added another home run by left fielder Randal Grichuck, this one a two-run shot off Guardians reliever Xzavion Curry in the eighth, to put the Angels ahead, 6-2.

“We had a lot of good at bats,” Nevin said. “Good baseball today.”

Tyler Anderson (6-6) allowed two runs on four hits and had four strikeouts in eight innings – his longest outing of the season – before giving way to Carlos Estevez.

“I was just happy to throw strikes and get ahead in the count,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of been the opposite all year. Then the guys played great defense and they were ready to go. … That’s the way I like to play.”

Anderson said he has been eyeing this type of outing for the past week.

“I felt I wanted to go out and get in the zone early,” he said. “I don’t feel I’ve done that all year.”

More articles

Latest article