Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels Pick & Prediction MARCH 30th 2024

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez will start for the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon against the visiting Los Angeles Angels, positioned to have a breakout season after revealing his promise last year.

Rodriguez was demoted last year after 10 early starts through May 26, compiling a 7.35 ERA while allowing 13 home runs in 45 1/3 innings. He returned to the big-league club eight weeks later and completely changed his fortunes.

In his 13 starts beginning July 17, he went 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA and allowed just three homers in 76 2/3 innings.

“You saw a young starting pitcher that had to deal with a little bit of adversity, and that’s not a terrible thing,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “And I said that at the time, this is not abnormal for this to happen. We get wrapped up with young players coming up here and having a bunch of immediate success, and that’s not always the case, even really, really talented ones like Grayson.”

Rodriguez credited his improvement to one pitch in particular.

“The slider has been a lot better since I’ve been back in the big leagues,” he said. “That was something that I didn’t really have before.”

Rodriguez is 1-1 with a 9.64 ERA in two career starts against the Angels, allowing three home runs. The three homers, however, were hit by players not currently with the club: Chad Wallach, Shohei Ohtani and Randal Grichuk.

Right-hander Griffin Canning will start for the Angels, having come all the way back from a stress fracture in his back that cost him the entire 2022 season. Canning went 7-8 with a 4.32 ERA in 24 appearances (22 starts) last season.

“I feel great,” Canning said after his final spring training appearance. “Just staying disciplined with my routine, making sure I’m staying on top of everything I need to stay on top of.”

Canning has struggled against Baltimore in his career, going 0-3 with an 11.05 ERA in four games (three starts).

The Angels’ offense struggled in Thursday’s opener, finishing with just two hits — including a Mike Trout home run — against Orioles starter Corbin Burnes and three relievers. Baltimore rolled to the 11-3 victory.

Angels manager Ron Washington went with third baseman Anthony Rendon in the leadoff spot, and Rendon went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. It was just the 37th time in 1,117 career games Rendon hit leadoff, and the results have not been good.

Rendon has hit in all nine spots in the batting order during his career, and his batting average (.253) and OPS (.689) while leading off are his lowest compared to any other spot in the order.

“Our leadoff hitters are not prototypical leadoff hitters,” Washington said. “I need someone up there that I think will make that pitcher earn his first four or five pitches, instead of the first one being put in play.

“Just trying to find some things with the lineup. I stayed status quo with the lineup throughout the spring and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed with the top of it, the way it was working, so I wanted to try something else.”

–Field Level Media

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