Adell continues hot streak as Angels defeat Royals

May 12th, 2024

ANAHEIM -- After showing signs of filling his immense potential with a strong start offensively through the first month of the season, Angels outfielder found himself in a slump to open May, going 1-for-20 in six games.

But unlike previous years, when things continued to spiral, Adell has righted the ship and has been returning to form. He stayed hot and displayed his power by crushing a three-run shot -- his third homer over his last four games -- to help lift the Angels to a 9-3 win over the Royals on Saturday night at Angel Stadium. He credited a change in approach after talking with hitting coach Johnny Washington, who got him on the right track.

"I think it all goes back to my decisions in the box and what I'm choosing to swing at," Adell said. "In early May, I didn't do the best job of getting pitches that I can handle. And we went back and looked at that and refocused on getting those pitches to handle early in the count and being ready to swing and being on the attack."

It's been a tough season for the Angels, but Adell has done his best to be a bright spot for the club. His three-run blast in the second off Royals starter Cole Ragans provided a major spark after the Angels went 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position in their frustrating 2-1 loss on Friday. But Adell came through on Saturday by smacking a 1-2 slider from Ragans to left-center field for his seventh homer of the year and his second in as many nights.

Adell said he met with Washington before the game. The game plan was to swing early in counts against Ragans with runners on base.

"We preached about that earlier today," Adell said. "I got with Johnny Washington and he said, 'Hey, be aggressive in those counts when you have runners in scoring position because they want to get ahead.' And I was able to battle in the count and get something to drive."

It helped get the offense get going against Ragans, who entered with a 3.38 ERA and is considered a top young arm. The Angels scored twice in the third, keyed by three straight singles from Cole Tucker, Taylor Ward and Kevin Pillar and a run-scoring wild pitch. Pillar later added a two-run single in the seventh off reliever Nick Anderson and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

Angels manager Ron Washington said Adell's homer set the tone for the Angels, who went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"It was huge," Washington said. "You can see him grow in front of your face. You saw where he was back when he was just a puppy."

Adell, 25, has batted .264/.324/.549 with three doubles, a triple, 18 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 33 games this year. One primary reason for his success is improving his contact rate and reducing strikeouts. The former top prospect struck out in 40.3 percent of his plate appearances last year but it's down to 25.5 percent this year.

Adell came into the season as a career .214/.259/.366 hitter in 178 games over parts of four seasons but is putting it all together this year.

"He's only getting started," Washington said. "Even look at his defense and he's improving. And just how confident he is and you see the same thing at the plate. He's going to strike out, but if you give him 500 at-bats, he's going to do some damage. But he's learning and he's using the whole field."

Adell's homer helped starting pitcher Tyler Anderson, who turned in another strong start. He gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings to pick up his first win since April 28. He's posted a 2.92 ERA through eight starts this season after he put up a 5.43 ERA in 27 outings (25 starts) last year. And he's been impressed by the similar improvement made by Adell this year.

"He's been really good," Anderson said. "Before these last few games he went through a little stretch where he struggled a little bit. But in general, he just shows up every day, works his butt off every day. It's been a pleasure to play with him. Defensively, I know when he was younger, he had some defensive mishaps, but he's working really hard, and it's paying off."