Before Blaming the Angels’ Bullpen, Consider 7 Losses a Team Effort

Before Blaming the Angels’ Bullpen, Consider 7 Losses a Team Effort

by August 3, 2020 0 comments

The Angels dropped their third consecutive series to begin the 2020 season in an 11-inning, 6-5 loss to the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s loss marked 10 straight days of games which resulted in a 3-7 start and five blown saves.

As the Angels find themselves in last place and two-and-a-half games out of first place in the AL West, it’s easy to point to the bullpen’s five blown saves. Factoring in those blown saves is the Angels’ offense’s inability to provide more run support for their pitching staff.

Hansel Robles‘s ninth-inning blown save Saturday followed by another lost save in Sunday’s Ty Buttrey appearance made it easy to place blame on the bullpen. Take a closer look at the numbers and you see that the Angels’ relievers have appeared in more games than any other club and the starting pitching is averaging a fifth-worst four innings per start. Keep in mind those numbers to reflect two out of the 10 games played featuring Shohei Ohtani starts in which he failed to complete a total of two innings.

As a whole, the Angels pitching staff’s 4.83 ERA is just inside the bottom third in baseball but the bullpen ranks highest in relievers entering the game in high-leverage situations. The Angels pitching staff’s 1.5 bWAR is tied with Oakland for seventh-best in baseball. The bottom line is that the lack of offense in most games has led to closer games in which the opponents’ defense was provided time to crawl back into games the Angels lost.

Through the first 10 games of the season, the Angels have outscored their opponents 66-64. 30 percent of those runs were scored in the first and second innings of their games. The Angels scored the most multi-run plays (12) in the middle innings between the third and sixth innings but have only two multi-run plays in the seventh inning or later.

Opponents have scored almost 50 percent of their runs in the first four innings against the Angels through the first 10 games of the season. The statistics indicate that it’s not a total failure of late-inning collapses as much as the run support drying up in the later innings through the first week and a half of the season.

The Angels have played the majority of their season now without Andrelton Simmons and four of the 10 games without Mike TroutAnthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols are the heart of the Angels’ batting order and all four are batting at or below the Mendoza Line. Further frustrating the fan base, Jo Adell remains at the Angels’ alternate facility following last Thursday’s service time date.

Monday is a much-needed day off for the 3-7 Angels who have played competitive enough through the first 10 games to have been 7-3 at this point. That’s good news for a team looking to find its way into the newly-expanded playoffs. Tuesday they will begin a six-game road trip with Mike Trout and the top of the Angels’ rotation of Andrew HeaneyDylan Bundy, and Griffin Canning in place to take the team deeper into upcoming games.

Angels This Week 

Following left-hander Patrick Sandoval’s season debut on the mound Tuesday evening, the Angels reassigned the pitcher to their alternative site at Long Beach State and promoted right-handed reliever Luke Bard from that site in a corresponding move. Monday’s off-day combined with the pending arrival of veteran starter Julio Teheran to the Angels rotation made it important to allow Sandoval to keep getting his starting reps at the training camp. The young southpaw should be first in line for a call-up when an additional starting pitcher is needed this season.

Justin Upton reached a milestone Wednesday night by hitting his 300th career home run during the Angels’ loss to the Seattle Mariners. Upton is only the 149th player in Major League Baseball history to reach this milestone. For perspective, Angels great Tim Salmon finished his 14-year MLB career with 299 home runs. Upton, also in his 14th MLB season, has averaged 28 home runs and 89 runs batted in per 162 games over the course of his career to date. The 32-year-old Upton is under contract with the Angels through the 2022 season.

The much-anticipated Baby Trout arrived Thursday, July 30, as Mike and Jessica Trout welcomed Beckham Aaron Trout into the world. The older Trout began his three-game paternity leave prior to Thursday’s series finale against Seattle. Angels owner Arte Moreno called Trout and told him to take as much time as he needed with his family. Trout accepted one additional day off, missing the Astros series finale Sunday. He plans to rejoin the team as they embark on a six-game road trip to Seattle and Texas beginning Tuesday.

The Angels kick off a three-game set in Seattle on Tuesday at T-Mobile Park where they will face off against Justin Dunn and Marco Gonzales in two nightcaps before wrapping up Thursday afternoon facing Taijuan Walker. The Angels will then fly to Arlington to play their first games inside the new Globe Life Field beginning Friday night against Jordan Lyles. The Angels will likely finish the series Saturday and Sunday against Rangers pitchers Kolby Allard and Lance Lynn.

While the Angels have not announced their starting pitchers for the road trip, Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy, and Matt Andriese are lined up for the Seattle series based on last week’s starts. Griffin Canning would likely start the Friday opener against Texas while Julio Teheran could make his Angels debut on Saturday. Heaney could pitch again on full rest Sunday if Shohei Ohtani is not available to close out the Texas series.

Lifelong baseball fan, writer, IBWAA member, and source for all things Los Angeles Angels. Future, current, and past Halos news. Follow on Twitter @_HaloLife.

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