Now that his first three major league hits are out of the way, Los Angeles outfield prospect Brandon Marsh hopes to contribute to his first win when the Angels and host Oakland Athletics conclude a two-game series Tuesday afternoon.
Playing in just his second big-league game, Marsh smacked two singles and an RBI double in a 4-1 loss in the series opener on Monday.
The 23-year-old had gone 0-for-4 in his debut Sunday at home against the Seattle Mariners. After that game, Angels manager Joe Maddon instructed the young slugger to relax and make himself at home, because the club expects him to be around for a while.
“I want him to expect to stay here the whole year,” Maddon said. “I spoke to him and I told him, ‘Just go play and don’t do anything differently.’ It’s the same game. A lot of times it spins faster, it just does, but you have to realize it’s normal, and you just have to go out and play.”
Marsh’s first hit came in his first plate appearance Monday when he singled against Oakland starter Cole Irvin. He recorded his first extra-base hit and RBI on the same swing in the ninth inning, producing the Angels’ only run with his double off A’s closer Lou Trivino.
The man tasked with taming Marsh is right-hander James Kaprielian (4-3, 2.90 ERA), whose high school — Beckman High – is 10 miles south of the Angels’ home ballpark.
The former UCLA standout has gone winless in his last four starts despite pitching to a 3.00 ERA while striking out 24 in 24 innings.
He started an 8-4 road win over the Angels on May 21, but got no decision after allowing home runs to Jose Iglesias and Jared Walsh. He allowed the two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings in his only career appearance against the Angels.
Interestingly, Marsh’s big game came in front of someone the A’s hope to be celebrating in the near future — first-round draft pick Max Muncy.
The A’s showed off the No. 25 overall selection of the recent draft to the media before Monday’s game, allowing the shortstop to field some ground balls and take some batting-practice swings, all while being watched by and getting to meet some players he hopes will be his future teammates.
“It’s just surreal, especially to see these guys in person,” said Muncy, a product of Thousand Oaks High north of Los Angeles, a school best known for producing actors Michael Richards and Kurt Russell.
“They’re a lot bigger than I thought. You think you’re big when you’re compared to high school guys,” Muncy said.
The 18-year-old signed his first pro contract earlier in the day.
“I talked to a few of the guys,” he gushed. “They just told me to enjoy it. You want to get to the big leagues as fast as you can, but they said to enjoy the minors and cherish the people you meet.”
In an effort to split the two-game set and snap a two-game losing streak, the Angels will turn to lefty Jose Suarez (4-2, 2.29), who has gone 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA on the road this season.
Suarez has already seen the A’s twice this year, both times in relief, shutting them out on two hits over 5 1/3 innings. He’s 1-0 with a 1.69 in three career appearances against the A’s, all of which have been in Oakland.
–Field Level Media