PHILADELPHIA — Taylor Ward’s season has been both a pleasant surprise and a disappointment.
When Ward has played, he’s hit better than even the most optimistic Angels fan could have imagined. However, he was was out of the lineup Saturday with his fourth different injury this season.
“It’s really annoying,” Ward said.
Ward felt some hamstring tightness during Friday’s game. He is just day to day, and he might even be available to play late in Saturday’s game.
Ward missed opening day with a groin injury. He then suffered a hamstring injury that cost him a couple games in mid-May. Ward then crashed into the fence May 20, suffering a neck stinger that limited his availability for a week.
Ward has played 38 of the Angels’ 53 games prior to Saturday, including 33 starts. He is hitting .333 with 10 homers and a 1.087 OPS.
Although his season numbers are still exceptional, they have dipped since he came back from his most recent injury. He’s hit .167 with a .593 OPS since his collision with the fence.
“There’s no excuse for anything,” he said. “I’ve been swinging at bad pitches lately. I think that’s the No. 1 thing. Cleaning that up I think will help get me back to doing the right things.”
When Shohei Ohtani was hit hard by the New York Yankees on Thursday, the Angels suggested that Ohtani was tipping his pitches. The Yankees whiffed on just 7% of their swings at Ohtani’s pitches, one of the lowest rates of his career.
Since that game, the Angels have been looking into what Ohtani might have been doing that could have been tipping his pitches.
If they’ve found anything, they aren’t saying.
“I want to be absolutely honest with you guys,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m being honest by saying if I knew I wouldn’t tell you.”
Pitching coach Matt Wise was just as vague.
“We’re constantly looking into our guys throughout, trying to make sure that we have processes in place to put them in the best spots where they’re able to execute pitches and take care of things like that,” Wise said.
Right-hander Chase Silseth will remain in the Angels’ rotation, despite allowing nine runs in 10 1/3 innings in his last three starts. He gave up four runs and didn’t make it out of the second inning Friday night.
Maddon said he still likes Silseth’s potential enough to give him another chance.
“There’s something I really like about him,” Maddon said. “I like his arm. I think last night, reviewing it, it was just too much middle middle.”
Silseth said he needs to simplify things to get his stuff back to where it was, particularly with his splitter. He also was clean shaven Saturday, looking for anything to change things up.
Wise agreed with Silseth’s assessment that he needs to not try to do so much.
“It was almost maybe like trying to make every pitch a touch too nasty,” Wise said. “His stuff is really good. I just watched a ton of his video, of his starts at Double-A. It’s a nice, easy rhythm, a trust factor. We’re working on that. So it’s part of the journey.”
The Angels will insert a seventh starter into their rotation Tuesday, Maddon said. It’s the result of last week’s rainout and subsequent doubleheader. The Angels still don’t want to have any of their starters work on just four days’ rest. The Angels are still trying to determine who will pitch that game. …
Anthony Rendon (wrist inflammation) is expected to begin some baseball activity when the Angels return home next week. Head athletic trainer Mike Frostad said Rendon recently had a follow-up and the Angels were cleared to start testing his wrist more. There is still no timetable for him to return, Frostad said. …
David Fletcher (hip surgery) played catch Saturday for the first time since his procedure. Fletcher said he is expecting to start some light hitting this week. Fletcher is hoping to be back before the All-Star break. …
Austin Warren (nasal fracture) reported no issues after a one-inning outing at Triple-A on Friday night, Frostad said. Warren is scheduled to pitch another inning Sunday.
Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 3-1, 2.70) at Phillies (RHP Kyle Gibson, 3-2, 3.83), 10:35 a.m. Sunday, Fox, 830 AM