Angels Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: Keibert Ruiz Makes MLB Debut
Keibert Ruiz
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Keibert Ruiz makes his MLB debut as the Los Angeles Dodgers look to complete a sweep of the L.A. Angels in the Freeway Series. The Dodgers enter play on a season-best four-game winning streak and two games ahead of the Colorado Rockies for first place in the National League West.

Sunday’s afternoon affair features a Dodgers battery of 22 year olds. Dustin May and Ruiz are the youngest pitcher-catcher combo since Dioner Navarro (21) caught Edwin Jackson (21) on
Aug. 22, 2005. It’s the eighth time in franchise history where the battery mates are 22 or younger.

Ruiz had been with the Dodgers as part of their taxi squad for the series opener, then was recalled Saturday as a corresponding move to Will Smith being placed on the 10-day injured list due to neck inflammation. Smith’s IL stint is retroactive to Aug. 13.

Ruiz got off to a slow start in Spring Training as he was delayed in making his 2020 Cactus League debut due to working on swing mechanics. He then was a late arrival to Summer Camp for an undisclosed reason.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts nonetheless credited the organization’s top catching prospect for his work at the team’s alternate training site over the past three weeks. “Keibert has done a fantastic job,” Roberts said.

“Everything we’ve asked of him at the secondary site, he’s always been good bat to ball, the left-handed swing is a little uphill, he’s been around the baseball. Contact is very good, but our hitting guys really cleaned that up and got him to backspin the baseball.

“He’s understanding how we do things as far as signs and game planning. He was around [Friday] and again [Saturday]. He’s been in some meetings. Keibert has done a fantastic job as far as development.”

Ruiz has plenty of experience with May during their time together with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. That should bode well for May as he looks to continue making a case to remain in the starting rotation moving forward.

For the Angels, Julio Teheran is coming off an abysmal start against the Oakland Athletics. He struggled with command and allowed five runs on five hits, including a pair of homers, in just two innings of work.

Teheran tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) two days before the start of Summer Camp and went three weeks before registering two negative tests that were required in order to report. Teheran signed a one-year contract with the Angels during the offseason.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
DH: Corey Seager
2B: Max Muncy
CF: Cody Bellinger
SS: Chris Taylor
LF: Joc Pederson
3B: Edwin Rios
1B: Matt Beaty
C: Keibert Ruiz

Angels lineup

SS: David Fletcher
1B: Tommy La Stella
CF: Mike Trout
3B: Anthony Rendon
DH: Shohei Ohtani
LF: Brian Goodwin
RF: Jo Adell
C: Max Stassi
2B: Luis Rengifo

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