LA Angels Tyler Skaggs’ Lack of Control Leads to Struggles
The long awaited comeback of LA Angels Tyler Skaggs was supposed to be one of the few bright spots for an Angels team that has not even been considered as a “playoff hopeful” since June.
Skaggs’ comeback was encouraging for the LA Angels as he started off as well as one could have hoped for, but has been slowly going downhill ever since.
In Skaggs’ first start, he had a solid outing in which he threw 7 innings and gave up only 3 hits and one walk along with five strikeouts. The Angels won that game 13-0, seemingly inspired by their fellow teammate’s dominance. In his next start, he got a no-decision after pitching 5.1 innings with 8 strikeouts, 2 walks, and once again giving up no runs. The Tyler Skaggs of old had seemed to return after two dominant starts, but the young pitcher has struggled with control which has been the biggest of many reasons for his recent four game losing streak.
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In his last four starts, Skaggs has thrown 17.2 innings with a 9.68 ERA (which, yes, is worse than Lincecum’s ERA during his short stay with the Angels). He has averaged roughly 4.5 innings a start, with 4 strikeouts and nearly 3 walks per start. However, the stat that best explains these recent struggles is Skaggs’ strike percentage. Over the last five starts, Skaggs has a strikeout percentage of 51.38. In his first start, he had a 71.6 percentage. When nearly half of your pitches are balls, hitters come up with the mentality of waiting for the right pitch and laying off pitches on the edge of the zone. This leads to longer at-bats, more hits, more walks, and less strikeouts. Those three things have led to a whole lot of runs.
Even with the high ERA, the offense has not been doing Skaggs any favors either. Since his first game, the Angels’ offense has scored 3.4 runs per game, meaning Skaggs has to go out and throw a gem every time he steps on the mound if he wants the win. The final reason for his poor record and stats are the catchers he’s been pitching to. While both Jett Bandy and Geovany Soto both have their strengths, they both have equally impactful weaknesses. Bandy has a strong arm, but could use work on his framing and game-managing, while Soto is more experienced and trained in game-managing, he lacks the arm to stop teams from consistently stealing on him (just ask the Indians, who swiped seven bags against him).
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All in all, the pure thought of Skaggs on the team made the fan-base’s expectations skyrocket, and Skaggs underwhelming performance so far has made this season hurt even more. However, Skaggs is still a young prospect, and can only get better from here, leaving hope for the future of the starting rotation.