Angels roster and schedule
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Los Angeles Angels roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. Next up: The Los Angeles Angels roster and schedule:

ANGELS ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Angels roster to begin the season, give or take:

Catchers

Jason Castro
Max Stassi

Infielders:

Albert Pujols
Tommy La Stella
Anthony Rendon
Andrelton Simmons
David Fletcher
Matt Thaiss

Outfielders

Mike Trout
Justin Upton
Brian Goodwin
Michael Hermosillo
Shohei Ohtani

Starters

Andrew Heaney
Dylan Bundy
Griffin Canning
Matt Andriese
Shohei Ohtani
Julio Teherán
Félix Peña
Jaime Barria

Relievers

Hansel Robles
Ty Buttrey
Cam Bedrosian
Keynan Middleton
Noé Ramirez
Ryan Buchter
Mike Mayers
Jacob Rhame
Jacob Barnes


BREAKDOWN:

After yet another disappointing season the Angels made some big moves this past winter. They fired Brad Ausmus and hired Joe Maddon. They gave Mike Trout a second banana who can take some of the load off, via a $245 million investment in third baseman Anthony Rendon. They acquired starter Dylan Bundy from the Orioles and signed starter Julio Teherán, cutting bait on guys like Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill. They, thanks to the delayed start of the season, are basically assured of Shoehei Ohtani beginning the campaign as a two-way player. Top prospect Jo Adell will likely not break camp with the team but he could see some playing time in 2020. His future is bright. Him aside, if Trout, Rendon, and Ohtani play up to their usual offensive standards and Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton can rebound from poor years, the offense — which was below average in 2019 — will be more than credible.

The real problem last year was the pitching, which was downright atrocious. Adding Bundy, Teherán and Matt Andriese, — who has been a reliever for the past two years but who will be a part of a large Angels rotation this year — can’t hurt, but nor can they be seen as true needle-movers. Ohtani coming back to full power would be a major boon, but it remains to be seen how much he can be used and how effective a pitcher he can be. He’ll be used only once a week on the mound. He’s had three appearances in Summer Camp action, the first two of which were not great before a pretty good one the other day. It’s hard to say what Joe Maddon will get from him.

The bullpen wasn’t too bad last year but it was overused and burnt out by the end of the year. If the new-look rotation can give them a break they could be a team strength. As it is, though, Maddon has said he’ll break camp with as many as 17 pitchers and keeping them until the rosters are cut down in a couple of weeks. Gotta hedge those bets.

The Angels, as always in the Mike Trout era, look pretty credible on offense and have a lot of stars on the roster. This year, if they can get some pitching, they’ll, at the very least, not be a disappointment, even if they don’t really stack up with Houston and Oakland. Success will be pushing harder for second place than a lot of people expected and remaining in the Wild Card conversation deep into September.

ANGELS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Angels home stands will be July 28-August 2 (Mariners, Astros), August 10-18 (Athletics, Dodgers, Giants), August 28-September 6 (Mariners, Padres, Astros), and September 15-21 (Diamondbacks, Rangers).

The entire Angels roster and schedule can be seen here.

Astros sweep as Twins lose 18th straight in playoffs

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — Shaken up by a scandal before the virus outbreak shrunk the season, the Houston Astros barely played well enough to reach the playoffs – with the rest of baseball actively rooting against them.

Well, they’re not ready to leave yet.

Carlos Correa hit a two-out, tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning for the Astros, who produced another stifling pitching performance and swept Minnesota over two games with a 3-1 victory Wednesday that sent the Twins to a record 18th straight postseason loss.

“I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here,” Correa said. “But what are they going to say now?”

Nine months after Houston’s rules-breaking, sign-stealing system was revealed, the Astros advanced to the Division Series in Los Angeles. As the sixth seed, they’ll face the Oakland Athletics or Chicago White Sox in a best-of-five matchup starting Monday at Dodger Stadium.

“I don’t think they necessarily thought that they had anything to prove. They just had to play ball,” said manager Dusty Baker, who took his fifth different team to the playoffs and advanced for the first time in seven rounds since winning the 2003 NL Division Series with the Chicago Cubs.

The Twins are 0-18 in the playoffs since winning Game 1 of their Division Series at the New York Yankees on Oct. 5, 2004, a total of seven rounds lost. Since that date, the Astros are 43-35 in postseason play, winning 10 of 15 rounds with three trips to the World Series.

Kyle Tucker hit two RBI singles for the Astros and made a key throw from left field for the inning-ending out in the fifth.

Rookie Cristian Javier worked three hitless innings in relief for the victory in his postseason debut and Ryan Pressly pitched a perfect ninth against his former team, giving the Houston bullpen a total of 9 2/3 scoreless innings in this wild card series with three hits allowed.

“From the very beginning, we envisioned ourselves back in the playoffs and playing real well,” Tucker said. “So we never counted ourselves out at any point.”

Nobody on this Twins team has had a hand in more than six of the playoffs losses, but for the second straight year one of baseball’s most potent lineups limped through a brief postseason cameo. In a three-game division series sweep by the Yankees last year, the Twins totaled seven runs and 22 hits. Against the Astros, they mustered only two runs and seven hits.

“We put a lot of balls in play, it seemed like, but they were up in the air and, yeah, it seemed like we played into their trap,” said Max Kepler, one of four starters who went hitless in the series. “At the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done.”

Nelson Cruz gave the Twins an RBI double for a second straight game, this time in the fourth inning against starter Jose Urquidy. Luis Arraez aggressively tried to score from first base, but Correa took the throw from Tucker and fired home to beat Arraez to the plate to preserve the tie after third base coach Tony Diaz waved him in.

“I don’t know why he sent him,” Correa said.

Then in the seventh against losing pitcher Cody Stashak, Correa drove a 1-0 slider into the tarp-covered seats above right-center field for his 12th home run in 52 playoff games.

After winning 101, 103 and 107 games in the last three regular seasons, winning the 2017 World Series and losing the championship in seven games to the Washington Nationals last year, the Astros stumbled through the 2020 season at 29-31 under Baker and new general manager James Click with a slew of injuries after the COVID-19 pandemic cut the schedule to 60 games.

They had the third-worst road record in the major leagues, too, but none of that mattered this week against the third-seeded Twins, who were out of sorts in their two biggest games this year.

Jose Berrios was one of the few who were locked in with five strong innings to start, with just two hits allowed. His two walks were costly, though, issued right before Tucker’s single in the fourth.

“I don’t think anyone was ready to leave, to end this way,” Cruz said. “That’s life.”

KIRILLOFF FOR BUXTON

Already missing third baseman Josh Donaldson, the Twins held another one of their most valuable players out: center fielder Byron Buxton. Baldelli declined to confirm whether Buxton was experiencing a recurrence of concussion symptoms that kept him out of the last two regular season games. Buxton was picked off first base after pinch running for Cruz in the eighth.

Kepler moved to center, and Alex Kirilloff – the 2016 first-round draft pick – played right field to become the first Twins player in history to make his major league debut in a postseason game. Kirilloff singled in the fourth. With the bases loaded in the first, he flied out to end the inning.

FEELING BLUE

Both teams took issue with plate umpire Manny Gonzalez’s strike zone, with Astros slugger George Springer the first to visibly complain. After being called out on strikes in the fourth, Springer barked, “No way, man!” multiple times on his way back to the dugout.

Then in the sixth, the Twins lost left fielder Eddie Rosario to ejection after he argued a called strike two that would’ve given him a walk if it were called a ball. After swinging and missing at strike three, Rosario yelled again and was quickly tossed.

First base umpire Tim Timmons missed consecutive calls in the eighth inning on grounders by the Astros when he called the runners safe. Both were reversed to outs after replay review.

UP NEXT

The Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series in each of the last three years, will play Monday against either the A’s or the White Sox. RHP Lance McCullers Jr. is the only member of their regular season rotation who did not pitch in Minnesota.

The Twins enter the offseason with 10 players set to become free agents, including the 40-year-old Cruz who led the team in home runs and batting average (among players with a qualifying amount of at-bats) for a second straight season. Their 2021 opener is scheduled for April 1 at Milwaukee.