Los Angeles Angels use good pitching to earn split with Jays

Jesse Chavez in the first inning of the game against the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Chavez in the first inning of the game against the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Angels started the season winning games despite the lack of strong starting pitching.  However, recently the Angels are getting strong pitching, but can’t get score enough to win.

However on Monday night the Los Angeles Angels sent Jesse Chavez to the mound in hopes of earning a split with the Toronto Blue Jays and the local product delivered another quality start.  The Angels bullpen made the lead hold up for a 2-1 victory to earn a split in their four-game series .

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After a 6-2 start the Angels have lost 10 of their last 12 games and fallen from first place to 4th place in the standings.  After not having a quality start from a starter in their first 12 games have now had six quality starts in their last nine games.  Furthermore the Angels’ starters ERA in their last 10 games is a sparkling 2.28. Unfortunately the Angels are 3-7 in those games.

The biggest reason for this slump is an Angels offense that is 21st in the Majors in runs scored with 71 runs and a team batting average of .238.  However, the other reason lately has been a shaky bullpen.

The Angels bullpen that was a strength when the starters were struggling in those first 12 games.  However, in the two games the Angels lost in the series were games when the Angels bullpen blew late leads.

The Angels made a move to bolster a bullpen that has been decimated by injuries.  They acquired reliever David Hernandez from the Atlanta Braves.  Hernandez will be used primarily as a 7th and 8th inning man and was pressed into service right away Monday night.

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After Jesse Chavez pitched a stellar six innings that saw him give up only one run on four hits while striking out seven,  Yusmeiro Petit came in to pitch the seventh and got through unscathed.  In the 8th Petit gave up a lead-off single then got the dangerous Jose Bautista to pop out to Martin Maldonado.

Manager Mike Scioscia came out to the mound and promptly removed Petit and put in Hernandez.  Hernandez got Kendrys Morales to fly out to left and then picked off Ezequiel Carrera first base to end the inning.  Not bad for his Angels debut.

In the ninth Bud Norris started out the inning by allowing the first two Toronto hitters to reach base as Justin Smoak singled, and Russell Martin walked.  Norris came back to strike out Chris Coglan on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt and then close the game out by inducing Devon Travis to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to notch his second career save.

Offensively the Angels got RBI single from Albert Pujols to tie the score in the fourth. Then Cameron lead-off the fifth inning with a single and stole second. Maybin moved to third on a Maldonado sacrifice bunt. Yunel Escobar then hit a ground ball to second and Maybin streaked down the line and beat Devon Travis’ throw to score the go-ahead run in the fifth inning which proved to be difference in this low scoring affair.

The Angels will now play Oakland in a three-games series starting Tuesday with J.C. Ramirez taking the mound for the Angels in game one of the series followed by Tyler Skaggs and Ricky Nolasco.

Next: Page's predictions for week four of the season

The Angels will hope to build some momentum before going out onto the road to Texas over the weekend.