Angels hope to boost home record, starting in opener vs M's
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Arte Moreno confirmed during spring training that his Los Angeles Angels will call their current stadium home for at least the next 13 seasons.
Now it's time to see whether the owner's team can regain its home-field advantage at Angel Stadium.
The Angels open their home schedule on Friday night against the AL West rival Seattle Mariners, kicking off a six-game homestand. Los Angeles split a four-game series at Oakland to open the season.
Moreno said he doesn't think it's possible to build a new stadium before at least 2030, when the billionaire would be well into his mid-80s. The Angels are sticking with the majors' fourth-oldest ballpark, which has been well-maintained in its advanced age.
Fans keep coming to the Big A, including 3 million of them last year for the 14th consecutive season. The Angels have the second-longest active streak of 3 million fans in the game, behind only the Yankees' 18-year streak.
Los Angeles has done it despite Moreno's geographical franchise name change and despite the Angels' profound struggles last season. They finished 74-88 for the worst record of manager Mike Scioscia's 17 seasons.
The Angels went just 40-41 at home last season, the fourth-worst mark in the AL and a stark decline from the previous two seasons. The Angels won 49 games at home in 2015 and a majors-best 52 in 2014, when they finished with the best overall record in baseball.
Angel Stadium is a famously pitcher-friendly ballpark, and the Angels' starting pitching was their greatest weakness last season. Thanks to innumerable injuries, including three season-ending elbow ligament tears, the Angels used an AL-high 15 starting pitchers in 2016 - and that doesn't include C.J. Wilson, who made $20 million in base salary and didn't throw a pitch in a game because of injury.
Despite those problems, the Angels' pitching staff actually hung in admirably for most of the season: With injury issues extending to the bullpen, the club allowed only 10 more runs than it scored.
While the Angels wait warily for the results of a precautionary MRI on right-hander Garrett Richards , Jesse Chavez will make his Angels debut on Friday night against the Mariners. The 33-year-old right-hander has been a reliever for all but two seasons of his peripatetic career, but the Angels have given him a starting turn and a chance to solidify the back of their rotation.
Chavez was the only free agent pitcher signed in the offseason by general manager Billy Eppler, who used much of his available cap space to shore up the two biggest problem areas in the Angels' lineup: second base and left field.
Danny Espinosa also is expected to make his Anaheim debut with the Angels. The second baseman grew up down the road in Santa Ana and attended countless games with his father, an Angels season-ticket holder.
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