J.C. Ramirez has been a shot in the arm for LA Angels
The LA Angels have had some much problems with injuries to their pitching staff , especially the starting rotation since the beginning of 2016 . The Angels lost three starters to UCL tears, but Garrett Richards was able to come back, before going down again after on start this season.
So during the off-season the LA Angels general manager Billy Eppler had the task of bolstering the pitching staff on a limited budget. Eppler did a great job signing Jesse Chavez, Yusmeiro Petit, and Bud Norris who were all potential starters in case the Angels lost any pitchers to injuries this year.
The move that went relatively unnoticed was prepping bullpen utility man J.C. Ramirez to be a potential starter in 2017. Ramirez was solid in 2016 going 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 43 appearances and he had one save. Ramirez went to 2017 Spring Training in hopes of winning the fifth starter spot, but it wasn’t in the cards as he was 0-1 with a 5.48 ERA in eight Spring games as both a starter and reliever.
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However, when the Angels lost Garrett Richards early this season Ramirez knew he may get the call to fill-in. The Angels instead choose to go with Daniel Wright who had started five games for the Angels in September of 2016. Wright pitched so-so in two starts, and the Angels decided to give Ramirez a shot.
So on April 14th Ramirez got the ball to start against the Kansas City Royals. He was roughed up early giving five runs in the first three innings, but settled down to go five innings allowing five runs on four hits with three strikeouts. However, in his next start against the Astros on April 19th Ramirez performed much better going 5.1 innings allowing three runs but striking out nine Astros.
For Ramirez the third time was a charm as he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s holding them to only two hits while striking out seven. Ramirez got a no-decision in a game the Angels won in extra innings.
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Finally today against the Texas Rangers Ramirez broke into the win column as a starter pitching 5.1 innings allowing four hits and two runs while striking out seven Rangers in a 5-2 Angels victory. The win allowed the Angels to finish the month of April with a 14-13 record, which is only the second time since 2009 that they have finished the first month of the season with a winning record.
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For Ramirez his spot in the rotation seems to be safe for awhile as Richards won’t be coming back until at least June and Tyler Skaggs is also on the DL. Ramirez has been an important part of the Angels recent resurgence and hopefully he will be able to continue it for awhile. Time will tell.