The LA Angels have had a rough go with injuries over the past few years. Their starting rotation has been the biggest victim, but they went into 2018 (generally) healthy. After the first few games, it seems as if there is a dark horse to become the Halos bona fide ace.
The hype was mostly around Garrett Richards for the LA Angels ace job. Shohei Ohtani had some but a rough Spring Training derailed that. While both have shown flashes this year, one pitcher nobody was talking about has looked as good as anyone for the Halos.
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Tyler Skaggs has never finished a season with an ERA below 4.17. He has also never started 20 games in a season. He was 2-6 with a 4.55 ERA in 2017. There was not any reason to think about Skaggs as the Angels potential ace.
However, it is time to start thinking.
Tyler Skaggs came out on the second day of the year and absolutely shut down the Oakland A’s. He through 6.1 shutout innings as he had all of his pitches working for him. He threw fastballs for strikes, curveballs for strikes, everything was thrown for strikes for Skaggs. Of the 22 batters faced, he only had three solid hit balls against him, and was whiffing batters all night with his curveball.
When Skaggs is healthy and throwing right, his curveball is elite. It is a strikeout pitch against either left-handed or right-handed batters, and is his best weapon. In the past, however, he has had trouble using it with consistency. While it has only been one start, the early signs are convincing that he is ready to take the next step.
On Tuesday, Skaggs will face a big test as he goes up against Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians. He will be compared with Kluber all night as Skaggs tries to join the ranks of him and other aces. He will also have his fair share of battles against the Indians lineup, who ranked seventh in runs last season.
Skaggs has a long way to go before being deemed the ace of the Halos. Maybe he gets there this season, maybe he never does. However, he has the ability to be as good as anyone, and he will be out to prove it on Tuesday night.