At mid-season LA Angels pitcher Ricky Nolasco was pitching for his life as he was struggling through another disappointing season with the Minnesota Twins. Nolasco was 4-8 with a 5.13 ERA in 21 starts. Then a miracle happened….
The LA Angels decided to make a deal with the Twins to acquire Nolasco and prospect Alex Meyer in exchange for Hector Santiago. For the 34-year old Nolasco it was a chance to come back home as he grew up in Rialto. It seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
Nolasco finished the 2016 season strong going 4-6 with a 3.21 including pitching a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds for his first win as an Angel on August 31st. In addition Nolasco won his last three starts of the season pitching 21 innings without allowing an earned run.
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Nolasco also pitched very well this Spring posting a 1-1 and record with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 15.1 innings. With Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker struggling and Tyler Skaggs still trying to build up his stamina, Nolasco was chosen by Angels manager Mike Scioscia to be the opening day starter on Monday, April 3rd in Oakland when the Angels take on the Mariners.
Nolasco will make his fourth opening day start as he has done it previous seasons with both the Mariners and the Twins. The Angels are hopeful Nolasco picks up right where he left off att the end of 2016 instead of how he pitched for three+ seasons in Minnesota where he went 15-22 with a 5.48 ERA during that span.
Once the Angels play three games inOakland they will return home to play Friday’s home opener against the Seattle Mariners. The Angels still have not officially named their fifth starter as of yet but Jesse Chavez who posted a 2.52 ERA this Spring is the front-runner for the spot. Bud Norris and Yusmeiro Petit also could have an outside chance for the spot.
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Petit found out on Tuesday that he will make the team out of Spring Training as it was stipulated in his minor-league contract that he be added to roster by that day or else be released. This is no big surprise as Petit has been nothing short of spectacular going 1-10 with a 0.64 ERA. Petit has a 0.79 WHIP with 13 strikeouts in 14 innings for the Angels and also pitched well for Venzuela in the World Baseball Classic.
It’s almost time for the regular season and the Angels are excited to put 2016 behind. Let’s see how things go starting out on Monday.