When I heard the LA Angels were going to do a bullpen game on Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers, I cringed. However, I was pleasantly surprised when i saw the results as the pen was flawless.
LA Angels reliever Jim Johnson might have been a little surprised when he saw his name as the probable starter for Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers. Johnson has had an up and down year in the Angels bullpen. Johnson is sporting a 3.72 ERA which for a starter would be decent, but as a reliever it is not so good. Johnson got the Angels off to a good start pitching a solid 1.1 innings.
From there Noe Ramirez took the ball and 1.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. In the bottom of the second inning Jose Fernandez got the Angels on the board with his first career big league home run to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. Hansel Robles picked up the ball in the fourth inning and pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout. Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson, andJose Alvarez followed suit with perfect innings and the Angels carried not only a shutout into the eighth inning, but a no-hitter as well.
In the eighth inning Blake Parker retired the first hitter he faced, but then allowed a one-out single to Isiah Kinder-Falefa. With two outs Parker allowed another single to Roughned Odor to put runners at first and third, prompting a pitching change as Ty Buttery was called upon to quell the threat which he did by retiring Jurickson Profar on a ground out to escape any damage and keep the shutout intact.
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Buttery came out for the ninth inning as well and retired the Rangers in order to complete the shutout. This was the Angels second 1-0 shutout in three days as Andrew Heaney and three relievers combined for a 1-0 shutout on Sunday afternoon in a victory over the White Sox.
Tuesday night’s game was a shot in the arm for a bullpen that has been much maligned especially in the last few months. The need for a bullpen start came due to Shohei Ohtani’s UCL injury. Will the Angels go the same route the next there is a need for a starter remains to be seen? For now though the Angels find themselves one game under .500 for the first time in nearly a month.
The Angels will go for their third straight series win tonight against Texas with Felix Pena on the mound. If they win they will be back to .500 for the first time August 19th. Let’s see what happens.