The LA Angels are no sure bet to make the playoffs. However, if they are able to make it past the Wild Card game, their bullpen could spark a miraculous run.
The LA Angels go into their game on Wednesday sitting one game behind the Minnesota Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot. While it will be tough for them to beat out the Cleveland Indians, they could be in the driver’s seat if they can pick up the win.
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For the Halos, their biggest strength has been their bullpen. They have multiple guys who can eat innings, pitch in high leverage situations, and strike out opposing hitters. While manager Mike Scioscia has not always used them correctly, if he can figure it out in the playoffs, they can lead a deep run.
In the playoffs, the Halos would only need to use two starting pitchers. Garrett Richards would assume one of those spots, while Parker Bridwell will likely take the other. While a third starter is nice to have, the likes of Ricky Nolasco and Tyler Skaggs don’t exactly provide confidence.
The Angels could instead do a bullpen game when needed. They have three pitchers, Bud Norris, Jesse Chavez, and Yusmeiro Petit, who can all make a start and go multiple innings. Norris has struggled in high leverage situations, but did well as a starter last week, throwing two shutout innings. Meanwhile, Chavez struggled as a starter this year but has been exceptional out of the bullpen.
The Halos would preferably be able to save Petit for high leverage situations, as he has excelled at leaving inherited runners on base. He is a rare mix of a pitcher who can get out of a jam but also eat innings. This makes Petit one of the Halos best weapons in a potential playoff matchup.
Youngsters Cam Bedrosian and Keynan Middleton have both cooled after hot starts this season, but can still be valuable in the playoffs. Middleton has crumbled in tight situations, but he could thrive as the first pitcher out of the Halos bullpen.
Bedrosian has consistently been on a downwards trend, and would be a risk to use in the playoffs. However, he has shown he can dominate for stretches, so if he gets hot he can be the key to the bullpen.
The star of the bullpen is Blake Parker. He has been the best Angels pitcher this season, and would be closing games throughout the postseason. Parker has been the most reliable pitcher all season, and there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t be able to in the playoffs.
With a new and improved offense, and two exceptional starters, the Angels could make some noise in the playoffs if they make it. However, it will be their bullpen that determines how far this Halo team would be able to go.