Tyler Skaggs is slowly becoming Los Angeles Angels Ace in the Hole
By David Rice
The Los Angeles Angels have been desperately looking for an ace for their pitching staff. Garrett Richards was the most likely candidate but he has been struggling. Enter left-hander Tyler Skaggs.
So far in 2018 the Los Angeles Angels starting rotation has been an enigma as they have been struggling to get any length and/or effectiveness from any starter in the rotation. The one shining light has been Tyler Skaggs as he has pitched very well in all but one of his starts. Skaggs is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in six starts with two quality starts with a 1.16 WHIP. Skaggs has 32 strikeouts in 32.2 innings of work with a 3:1 strikeouts to walks ratio.
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Skaggs has twice pitched shutout baseball for six plus innings including outdueling Houston’s Gerrit Cole for a series-opening 2-0 victory. Skaggs went seven innings allowing only four hits with three strikeouts and only one walk.
Skaggs biggest issue has been staying healthy. In 2014 Skaggs tore his UCL in his left elbow and underwent Tommy John Surgery missing the entire 2015 season. In 2016 Skaggs was only able to make 10 starts due to injuries and then in 2017 he only made 16 starts again due to injuries.
Skaggs is 16-23 with a 4.44 ERA for his career, hardly ace-like numbers. Hopefully Skaggs can stay healthy for a full season and then we will see how good Skaggs can become. If the first month of the 2018 season is any indication, Skaggs can be very good.
The Angels are hoping for Skaggs to be a key part of a improved starting rotation. With Andrew Heaney improving over his last two starts, as well as Nick Tropeano coming on as well, the staff is hopefully starting to come together with Skaggs leading the pack.
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Garrett Richards has struggled so far this season to get past the fifth inning due to a high pitch count, which has made it imperative that Skaggs be effective following Richards in the rotation to give the bullpen a breather.
Skaggs has been up to that task pitching into the sixth inning in four of his six starts. He also has allowed more than two runs in a start only once against the Boston Red Sox when Skaggs allowed six runs in 4.1 innings.
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Skaggs will hope to keep things rolling when he makes his next start on Saturday against the much-improved Seattle Mariners unless Shohei Ohtani bumps Skaggs back a day. From there we will see if Skaggs can become the Angels Ace in the Hole.