The Los Angeles Angels have gotten off to a .500 start, in fact now they’re one game under .500 with a loss today. It may seem sort of disappointing but after the past two seasons where they have gotten off to miserable Aprils, this April is off to a hot start.
Things already look better for this Angels team that has seen their past few seasons end without a spot in the October madness known as playoff baseball. Finally, their two blockbuster signings of the last couple years are earning their contracts as Josh Hamilton has started the season on fire and Albert Pujols is looking healthy like in his St. Louis days.
Things were going pretty well after getting swept to open up their season by the Seattle Mariners, but then Hamilton got hurt once again and will miss six to eight weeks with a thumb injury. Despite his lost bat in the lineup, the rest of the team has picked up the slack and have hit pretty well.
The Angels lead the league in home runs with 20, are fourth in runs batted in with 64 and in runs with 67.
Their starting pitching has also gotten off to a decent start, despite Jered Weaver’s inability to get his first win of the season. Newly acquired Tyler Skaggs has been great so far with a 1-0 record, 2.40 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.
Right hander Garrett Richards has also gotten off to a solid start with a 2-0 record, 0.75 ERA and 1.00 WHIP and the only pitcher that has truly struggled other than Weaver has been the other newly acquired lefty Hector Santiago who came in to today’s game with an ERA above 6.00.
Santiago was the wild card in the rotation and seemed lost in his first two starts but he showed how good he can be in tonight’s game against the Oakland A’s. The 26-year-old went seven strong innings, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out three batters and walking just one.
So, as seasons before, the offense is coming on strong, the starting pitching is starting off strong and the weakness still was on full display in tonight’s 3-2 loss versus the A’s. Once again the bullpen was unable to hold on to the lead as closer Ernesto Frieri gave up a two-run home run in the ninth inning to squander Santiago’s great game.
In order for the Angels to make the postseason will be if the bullpen gets their act together for once and holds on to leads or keep games close. The bullpen has a 1-2 record with a 4.70 ERA, allowing 20 runs on nine home runs in 38.1 innings while allowing 17 walks.
Those numbers are just not going to cut it when the top two bullpens in the American League reside in their own division, the Mariners and the A’s. The team has to do everything it can to acquire better relievers or find a magic wand that will allow them to turn things around because before you know it, they can find their way back on the outside looking in.