LA Angels Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays @ Angels (5/17/18)

DENVER, CO - MAY 09: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bats in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 09: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bats in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels will be facing the Rays in a very much needed “fix-it-up” series after watching the bullpen blow multiple games against must win opponents in the past week. The AL Central Twins, a considered wild card contender, came out with multiple wins they shouldn’t have if the Angels had been on their A game. Then again, if this bullpen is their “A” game there’s going to be a lot more pain and anguish this upcoming season.

This has been a rough week for the Angels, almost as rough as getting embarrassed by the Red Sox. While nothing in that Red Sox series in April went right for the Angels there was plenty going in their favor when facing the Twins and Astros. Starting pitching was on, and while the offense wasn’t lights out they were making opportunities happen when they needed. Until the bullpen stepped in and erased all the hard work of the Angels staff.

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It’s a very frustrating notion that one player can wreck an entire game played so well by such a talented team, even moreso frustrating is the fact that there is an entire bullpen filled with unreliable arms ready to bury a gem of a game at a moments notice.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday, 5/17; 7:07PM PT: Chris Archer (2-3, 5.64 ERA) vs Tyler Skaggs (3-2, 3.07 ERA)

Friday, 5/18; 7:07PM PT: Blake Snell (4-3, 3.12 ERA) vs Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.46 ERA)

Saturday, 5/19; 6:07PM PT: TBA vs Andrew Heaney (2-2, 3.93 ERA)

Sunday, 5/20; 1:07PM PT: TBA vs Shohei Ohtani (3-1, 3.58 ERA)

The Angels starters lined up for this series have been putting out top-rated performances lately, so it’s a wonder why they’ve been losing so much lately. Oh yeah, it’s that unsavory bullpen we’ve grown so comfortable with over this past decade. Whenever it seems like the Angels have their starting pitching locked into some kind of groove there has to be something to keep the game harder than it needs to be. There’s nothing more disheartening than putting it all out on the field just to watch it erased in a matter of seconds after 9 innings of hard work.

That being said, the starters can only continue to perform as they have to to keep the Angels in positions to win games. Tyler Skaggs has been an ace all season, with him starting off the series against Chris Archer there is a glimmer of hope that this is a game the bullpen shouldn’t be able to touch. Skaggs has been fantastic at limiting runs, his last outing being a two run, six inning affair. Chris Archer allowed three home runs in his last start, so there is plenty of opportunity for the Angels to jump onto that train before it leaves the station.

Meanwhile, Andrew Heaney and Shohei Ohtani have 21 strikeouts between the two of them from their last outings each. Those aren’t cherry-picked numbers by the way; Heaney collected 10 K’s in 8 IP against the Astros while Ohtani took the Twins for 11 K’s over 6.1 innings. There’s clearly a ton of ace potential on the squad and plenty of it is being realized so early in this season.

What to look for 

  • Hopefully not the Angels bullpen. Not Cam Bedrosian, not Jose Alvarez; none of them. It’s not fun to watch, if there was any series in which the Angels starters pulled of complete games it would need to be this one. Only for the reason that the bullpen needs to be kept off the field as much as possible this series.
  • Other than that keep your eyes on Mike Trout. Yes, he’s still on pace to putting up the best season of any athlete in baseball history. Don’t worry, now that it’s on ESPN everyone can take it seriously instead of Angel fans.

Next: Halos Finally Have Dominant Rotation

  • C.J Cron is coming back home! We miss him, we miss him dearly. He’s currently putting up a .283/.339/.522 slash line as the Rays first baseman with 10 home runs and 26 RBI’s; and worst of all the Angels traded him for a fringe prospect. At this point in time when it’s blatant the Angels need relief pitching and the obvious value Cron had as a trade piece it’s mind blowing that they sent him away for empty space.  I don’t know if it’s the air in Tampa Bay that’s energized him or if it’s from escaping the air in Anaheim. What a wonder it is when a player is actually managed to their potential.