Two Bullpen Arms That Haven’t Been Terrible, A Love Story


The Angels relief corps has been, well, inconsistent at best this year. At times, the bullpen will look overly dominating spelling death to opposing teams that are entertaining the idea of a late inning comeback. Other times, well, the term “implosion” is really the only way to describe the Angels bullpen performances. There have been, however, two Angels relievers, that when called upon, have shut down opposing teams regardless of the situation.

Scott Downs

since signing with the Angels prior to the 2011 season, the 37 year-old Downs has been solid as well as spectacular. He’s also been the lone lefty in Mike Scioscia‘s “bullpen bag-o-tricks.” After a rocky start to the season, Downs has pitched the way that Angels fans expect. And a large part of his success coming from a platoon split that has never been more prevalent that what he is displaying this year.

Right handers this season are hitting a solid .314/.415/.371 against Downs. Lefties on the other hand, have a slash line against Downs of .176/.222/.176. Downs has been death to lefties this season with an 11.00 SO/BB ratio, and allowing zero extra base hits to left handers so far. If it weren’t the injury to Sean Burnett, Scioscia would have had the luxury of hiding Downs from right handers and exploiting his excellence against lefties. And i would not be crying myself to sleep. But the Angels resident senior citizen has been solid, as usual, and remains one of the few smart moves to come out of the Tony Regins regime.

Michael Kohn

0.927. 0.927! That WHIP, I mean…/faints.

Michael Kohn has always had an issue with baserunners, whether it be via the walk or base hit. And, common sense says, if you keep allowing baserunners, you’re going to give up runs. And in 2011, that was exactly what happened to Kohn.

Fast forward two years, past Tommy John Surgery, and Michael Kohn is better than ever. There is still a walk in his game, but his 4.4 BB/9 is the lowest of his career, his 10.3 K/9 ranks second on the team behind only Ernesto Frieri and his 3.9 H/9 is the best on the team. For most pitchers, coming back from TJS means growing pains (Insert obligatory “Ryan Madson” joke here) for the first few months that you are back pitching to competition. Michael Kohn simply doesn’t have time for that.

There hasn’t been many positive things to say about the Angels bullpen this year. Most of it, is due to the constant influx of AAA talent that is either not ready (Nick Maronde), or is simply not good (Barry Enright). Injuries have marred the season, and Sean Burnett’s injury has been the biggest blow to the ‘pen.

But it’s not as though these are the only two relievers that have been handling business when they have been brought in. This team has quite a few notable performers waiting out beyond the left field fence for the call to enter the game. But these two have been especially dominating, or, shut”Downs” if you will. And maybe deserve a little more of the spotlight than they have been getting.