ARLINGTON, Texas — In his 2021 debut, Jo Adell gave reason to believe that he has put the struggles of 2020 behind him.
Adell had three hits, including a two-run double that gave the Angels a lead they would not relinquish in their 11-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Adell filled up the box score, adding an RBI single, a second double and a walk. He also stole a base and made a nice slide that helped to get the Angels an extra run.
“It felt good,” Adell said. “I went in and tried to game-plan for every pitcher that we faced. I tried to get pitches I could handle and good things happened. Just play the game. I’m really happy that I could produce.”
While Adell was the headliner, the Angels also got a solid bounce-back start from left-hander Jose Suarez, a three-hit game from Phil Gosselin, two hits from Shohei Ohtani and a two-run homer from Jack Mayfield.
It added up to the Angels’ first double-digit scoring night since June 30, which was a welcome development for a team whose offense had been its biggest problem lately.
Adell provided the spark, an encouraging sign that the swing changes he made this season will make a difference.
Manager Joe Maddon said Adell’s swing looks totally different now: “He’s quiet and on time. He’s got a big-league setup right now. He can hit from there. He hit good pitching from there.”
Last year Adell hit .161 with a .478 OPS, which was so disappointing the Angels gave him more than half a season at Triple-A this year. Although he hit 23 home runs at Salt Lake, there were enough other holes in the game – offensively and defensively – that he didn’t get the call until Monday.
His first plate appearance of the season was encouraging. Adell fell behind 1-and-2, then took some tough breaking pitches to draw a walk.
Maddon singled out that plate appearance as one of the most encouraging signs of the night. For a player who still struck out 99 times and walked 22 this year at Triple-A, showing control of the strike zone early was important.
“I’m focusing on process with him, and I thought his process was outstanding today,” Maddon said.
Adell agreed that was his best plate appearance of the night. He said last year he hadn’t had enough experience seeing those kinds of breaking balls to be able to lay off them.
“I think I probably would have swung at a couple sliders or cutters early in the count,” Adell said. “And I was able to kind of spit on those today. Over time you start to see these pitches and pick up on what they’re going to do and where you want to get the ball. Today I was glad I was able to spit on those. It’s a work in progress to know which ones you can attack and which ones you can lay off.”
Adell came to the plate in the third with two runners on and the score tied, thanks to Gosselin beating out a two-out infield hit to push home a run and extend the inning.
Adell got an 0-and-1 curveball over the outer half and he yanked it into left field for a two-run double.
He grounded out in the sixth, but then lined a bases-loaded single in the seventh as part of a four-run inning. Adell then went hard into shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who made a wild throw that allowed the Angels to score another run.
In the ninth, Adell yanked his second double of the night down the left field line, for the first three-hit game of his young career.
Besides the performance of the 21-year-old Adell, the Angels also were encouraged by the 23-year-old Suarez, who rebounded after allowing eight runs in his previous start.
Suarez had allowed just one run through five innings before allowing a two-run homer – with a five-run lead – in the sixth. He finished with 5-2/3 innings, equaling his career high.
Suarez struck out six and walked one, throwing 88 pitches.
“I focused more, especially on my fastball, attacking the zone,” Suarez said through an interpreter. “My fastball command was my biggest adjustment.”
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