Angels uncertain of starter in opener vs. Padres

National Sports

Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon is scrambling to find a healthy pitcher to start the team’s opener against the San Diego Padres on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif.

Right-hander Dylan Bundy is out with a strained pitching shoulder while three others — Jose Marte, Austin Warren and Reid Detmers — are unavailable for undisclosed reasons. Teams are not allowed to reveal COVID-19 information without player approval.

Left-handers Packy Naughton and Jose Quintana, and right-hander Aaron Slegers are candidates to start Friday’s game. Quintana, however, pitched two innings of relief in Thursday afternoon’s 13-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

“It’s a challenge; there’s no question about it,” Maddon said. “Honestly, I just always refer back to my minor-league days. … You try to put together your best gameplan for the day that day, and then you go out there and try to work it.”

Quintana has the most experience among the three, having started 10 games this season. Naughton has made just one major-league appearance this season while pitching out of the bullpen. Slegers has made 29 relief appearances for the Angels this season but also has five starts at Triple-A Salt Lake.

“When you have to start making adaptations this time of the year, under the circumstances, you try to figure it out the best you can, knowing that it can or cannot work out or may not work out,” Maddon said. “It’s just that the group is so scattered, and you have new faces showing up all the time. It’s difficult, but I still believe that the minor-league training is the best.”

Right-hander Joe Musgrove (8-8, 3.04 ERA) will start for San Diego, which unfortunately means it might be a game in which the Padres’ offense struggles. San Diego has averaged just 3.62 runs per game in his starts.

That would explain a .500 record despite holding opposing teams to two or fewer earned runs in 16 of his 24 starts.

“I take pride in my ability to keep us in the game,” Musgrove said. “If there is a night we’re not going to be able to do much offensively, I want it to be a night I’m pitching. I feel like I can keep us in the game. I feel like I can manage things.”

The Padres are 13-11 in games Musgrove starts.

“I know how to compete,” he said. “Sometimes going down early, when we’re losing and knowing the situation we’re in, I think that (helps) me elevate my game a little bit.”

Musgrove is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six career games (two starts) against the Angels. All of those games took place in 2016 and 2017 when he played for the Houston Astros.

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hit his major-league-leading 41st home run on Thursday against the Orioles. It was just his second homer in his past 11 games.

–Field Level Media

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