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2021 Los Angeles Angels: Home Opener Series Preview

We made it! The 2021 Major League Baseball season is upon us and the 2021 Los Angeles Angels are set to kick off their season Thursday, April 1, 2021, against the Chicago White Sox at Angels Stadium.

With COVID-19 still hanging over North America and affecting how life and sports are taking place, Dylan Bundy gets the nod against Lucas Giolito. This is a four-game set that runs Thursday, April 1 through Sunday, April 4. 

Injury Report

For the Chicago White Sox, they were dealt a serious blow in Spring Training when Slugger Eloy Jimenez suffered a ruptured left pectoral tendon. He will be out five to six months and will need surgery.

Jimenez had 14 home runs and 41 RBIs in the pandemic shortened 2020 season and helped the White Sox qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

The 2021 Los Angeles Angels head into the season without any major injuries to report. A quick look at the Angels website and its Injury Report section will tell you that the relative health of the team has been good so far this spring.

What Will Spring Training Tell Us About 2021 Los Angeles Angels

The story lines coming out of Spring Training have been interesting and we sound like a broken record but Shohei Ohtani has really impressed with his play on the mound and with the bat.

Ohtani has a .571/.594/1.107 slash line in 11 games as well as a 1.701 OPS. Add five home runs and eight RBI’s to go with 14 strikeouts in 8 innings as well as pitches that have topped out over 100mph.

If Ohtani can pull off being a true two-way player that will help the Angels American League West fortunes in a big way.

For the White Sox, We"ve covered the injury to Eloy Jimenez but the White Sox are much more than one player and a lot of that attention falls on 2020 American League MVP Award winner Jose Abreu.

It should really because since winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2014, Abreu is a three-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger winner and the AL’s RBI champ two years running.

Pitching Matchups

This series starts with Dylan Bundy on the hill Thursday against Lucas Giolito. Bundy came over to the Angels prior to the start of the 2020 season and when the season finally got underway in July he looked to be a good acquisition.

He established a season-best in ERA at 3.29, FIP of 2.95, and K per nine innings rate of 9.87. He only started 11 games but finally seemed to be fulfilling his promising draft status where he went 4th overall to the Baltimore Orioles in 2011.

Giolito started 12 games and had a 3.48 ERA, a FIP of 3.19 in 2020. Giolito threw a no hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates in August 2020 striking out 13.

The Good Friday game of this set sees Andrew Heaney for the 2021 Los Angeles Angels against the White Sox Dallas Keuchel. Heaney started 12 games for the Angels last season and in 66.2 innings pitched had a 4.46 ERA and 1.230 WHIP. At 29, and with some injury plagued seasons behind him, there are bound to be questions about whether he can hold his own in the 2021 Los Angeles Angels six man rotation. They cannot afford to have him struggle.

Dallas Keuchel is coming off a strong 2020 campaign for the White Sox where he had a 1.99 ERA and FIP of 3.08. Keuchel led the AL in the fewest home runs per 9 IP at 0.284 and in the fewest strikeouts per nine innings at 6.0 in 2020.

Saturday"s tilt sees Lance Lynn against Alex Cobb. Both pitchers changed teams in the off-season, with Cobb being another reclamation project from the Orioles like Dylan Bundy. Cobb was flipped for Jahmai Jones, an interesting prospect, which caused some annoyance to 2021 Los Angeles Angels fans who felt the team should have kept him. Cobb had a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts with Baltimore in 2020.

Lynn was acquired from The Texas Rangers for Dane Dunning. He was 6-3 with an ERA of 3.32 and a WHIP of 1.060. He had a total of 89 strikeouts in 84.0 innings pitched.

In the final game of the four game series on Sunday, we"ll get to see Shohei Ohtani make his regular season debut on the mound for the 2021 Los Angeles Angels against Dylan Cease. Shohei Ohtani has really amped up his two way play in Spring Training throwing pitches that were 102 MPH. He did get bitten by the blister bug again in his last start which hurt his numbers but he still looked to be able to hold his own on the mound.

Dylan Cease has the chance to pitch over a full season this time after posting a 4.01 ERA in 2020. He did walk 34 in 58 1/3 innings in 2020. Cease had a 0.77 Cactus League ERA with seven walks in 11 2/3 innings in Spring Training.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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