'Patient' Rosenberg ramps up against AL Central champs

Halos rookie logs five scoreless frames; Adell's HR, Fletcher's defense help even set

September 23rd, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rookie lefty is trying to make the most of his opportunity down the stretch, and he turned in his best outing of the season against the Twins on Saturday afternoon.

Rosenberg struck out a season-high five batters over five scoreless innings to pick up his second career win in the Angels’ 1-0 victory at Target Field. He’s posted a 4.50 ERA in 28 innings this season, including a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings over three starts.

And while he’s not a prototypical rookie at 28 years old, he’s doing his best to show he can be part of the club’s pitching depth next season.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Rosenberg said. “I always felt like I could be a starting pitcher at this level. I'm 28, and sometimes you just have to be patient. I've had almost 600 innings in the Minor Leagues and a lot of starts under my belt. So even though technically a rookie, I've been doing this for a long time.

“And I have the utmost confidence in my ability to get these guys out.”

Rosenberg scattered five hits and two walks, as his biggest issue was his pitch count, needing 91 pitches to get through five innings. But he didn’t run into much trouble except in a 30-pitch opening frame when he loaded the bases with two outs but got Matt Wallner to fly out to left to escape trouble.

“I think I had seven 3-2 counts and that’s not a good recipe to pitch deep into games,” Rosenberg said. “You want to at least go six innings and give your team a chance to win. But five innings with no runs, and being able to keep them off the board after a 30-pitch first, I was really happy with that.”

Otherwise, the Twins never had a runner reach second base against Rosenberg the rest of the way. Both walks came in the first inning and he gave up just one single in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. He ended his outing by getting Edouard Julien to ground into a double play.

Although Minnesota rested several regulars after clinching the American League Central title on Friday night, it was still an encouraging sign. Rosenberg posted a 4.95 ERA with 120 strikeouts in 100 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake and he has been seeing action with the Angels since mid-August.

The Halos had used an opener for him twice this season, including his previous appearance against the Tigers on Sunday, when he was hurt by a pair of homers by Jake Rogers and allowed five runs over five innings.

But Rosenberg was given the chance to start against the Twins and was solid despite not having his best stuff.

“He was good, but he had a lot of 3-2 counts,” manager Phil Nevin said. “He’d either fall behind or even at 0-2, it would get to 3-2. So it was a learning experience for him. But the stuff was there and good enough to keep hitters off-balance.”

Rosenberg didn’t get much support, as the only run scored came on a solo shot from Jo Adell off Twins starter Sonny Gray in the fourth inning.

Adell, who is also trying to make a positive impression heading into next season, has continued to show off his power since coming back from the injured list on Tuesday. He’s homered twice and doubled in five games since returning from the IL, and Adell will continue to get regular playing time over the club’s final seven games.

“I’ve been feeling really good,” Adell said. “Just continuing to improve upon the things that I'm working on. Just trying to control the zone and hit the pitches that I can handle.”

The one run held up thanks to strong performances from relievers Jimmy Herget, Ben Joyce, José Soriano and Carlos Estévez. Shortstop David Fletcher had an impressive game defensively, especially with a double play he started to end the eighth inning using a near no-look flip to Michael Stefanic.

Stefanic completed the double play with a barehanded snag and acrobatic throw to first base.

“It was kind of tough, because I was shifted over in the hole to defend the left-handed hitter. But I saw Fletch had a good chance of getting there so I busted to the bag,” Stefanic said. “He made a good feed and I just thought barehand was the right option, and just tried to get it over there as quick as possible.

“It was kind of fun, it was like a fadeaway jumper. It was a cool play, but Fletch did all the work.”