When the LA Angels made the decision to option reliever Justin Anderson to Triple-A Salt Lake City it was a curious move. The move has come back to haunt them.
The LA Angels have struggled in the past week winning only one out of seven games during that time period. Four of those six losses were by two runs or less and three of them were due in large part to the bullpen being depleted and ineffective.
Luke Bard gave up a tack-on run in the seventh on Saturday night that proved to be the difference in the game as the Angels lost a one-run decision. The two previous nights the Angels closer Cody Allen was touched for 9th inning runs which cost the Angels the game both nights.
Angels reliever Justin Anderson could have been helpful in all of these situations. Not saying Anderson couldn’t have been ineffective in any one of those outings and given runs as well, but not having him to use in late-inning situations has somewhat handcuffed what was the best bullpen in baseball.
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When the Angels had Justin Anderson, Luis Garcia, and Hansel Robles setting up closer Cody Allen the Angels bullpen was the best in baseball over the first two weeks of the season. Since then the Angels bullpen has seen its ERA rise from 1.78 to 4.24 nearly 2.5 runs per nine innings.
This is not just due to Anderson not being in the bullpen mix, but if things were not broke why did the Angels feel the need to switch things up. Justin Anderson can be called back up any time now as his minimum stay of 10 days in Salt Lake City has passed.
More than likely the Angels will call up Anderson in the next week to avoid exhausting his option. (Baseball rules state if a pitcher is sent down to the minors if he stays more than 20 days one of his options in exhausted).
Hopefully the Angels will not wait this long to recall Anderson as the have a big four-game series with the Yankees starting tomorrow where they could use Anderson’s live arm (clocking up to 99 MPH on the radar gun). He has also pitched well against the Yankees going back to last season.
In three appearances against the Yankees in his rookie year Justin Anderson pitched 4.1 innings allowing no hits and striking out six hitters including Aaron Judge twice and Giancarlo Stanton once. He only allowed three walks during those innings.
We will see what the Angels do this week, but don’t be surprised to see Justin Anderson back with the Angels sometime this week and it will not be a moment too soon.