Albert Suarez, Orioles look to take down plummeting Angels

Field Level Media

April 22, 2024 at 1:25 pm.

Right-hander Albert Suarez will make his second start of the season for the Baltimore Orioles on Monday when the team opens a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

The Orioles posted their sixth win in seven games with a 5-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. The Angels, in turn, have dropped four in a row and nine of their past 12 games following a 3-0 setback to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Suarez’s first major league appearance in nearly seven years went well. Suarez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) scattered three hits and struck out four batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

“You always have that (major league) dream once you sign, because the first step is signing, and then after that, it’s like, ‘OK, now what do I need to do to get better to get to the big leagues?'” Suarez said. “And for me, every year was a grind. Obviously, I told myself, ‘OK, you need to get better every day — every day.’

“And not just on the field, but off the field, learning English. I always told myself that was going to be very important. That’s how you go up in baseball. The mentality to be in the big leagues was always there.”

Suarez, now 34, was just 16 when he was signed as an amateur free agent by the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006 out of his home country of Venezuela. He finally reached the big leagues in 2016 with San Francisco, making 22 appearances (12 starts) before working 18 games as a reliever for the Giants in 2017.

But his vagabond ways resumed, with the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder again making the rounds, including three seasons in Japan and two in South Korea.

The Orioles are Suarez’s fifth major league organization, and that includes the Angels, with whom he signed in 2015 and had one of his best seasons. He pitched for the Angels’ Double-A affiliate in Arkansas and went 11-9 with a 2.98 ERA in 27 starts.

He has yet to face the Angels in his career.

Suarez will be matched up against the Angels’ best starter, Reid Detmers (3-0, 1.19), who already has a victory over the Orioles this season. Detmers gave up one run and two hits in five innings of a 4-1 win on March 31.

Detmers’ route to the majors was much quicker than that of Suarez. He was selected No. 10 overall by the Angels in the 2020 draft before reaching the big leagues a year later on Aug. 1, 2021.

Detmers is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles.

The Angels are expected to be without third baseman Anthony Rendon until the end of May. He sustained a strained left hamstring while beating out an infield single in Saturday’s game.

Aaron Hicks started Sunday’s game in Rendon’s leadoff spot, and Miguel Sano started at third base. Luis Rengifo also will get starts at third, as well as Ehire Adrianza, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace Rendon on the roster.

“That guy means a lot to this team,” Angels pitcher Patrick Sandoval said of Rendon. “To see him work his way back from all these injuries and the work ethic he has, the passion for the game that he has and the passion he has as a leader for this team and helping everyone here, it’s gut-wrenching.”

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